It all started so nice at Comcast Center for Baltimore native Malcolm Delaney and Washington native Jeff Allen. Four years ago as high school seniors, Delaney (31 points, seven steals) and Allen (16 points, 15 rebounds) were stars on a floor full of them in the 34th annual Capital Classic.

But two subsequent trips to College Park as players for Virginia Tech have altered their perspective.

At a media session this week, Delaney had sharp words for Maryland fans. Two years ago, Allen revealed his feelings about the Terps' faithful in digital format after fouling out in the Hokies' 83-73 loss at Comcast. Allen's gesture, caught on television cameras, cost him a one-game suspension. He later claimed it was in response to a racial slur.

Delaney, the Hokies' leading scorer, and Allen, the Hokies' top rebounder, can expect another dose of it Thursday night when Virginia Tech travels to Maryland.

"I don't get into that," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We have as good of fans as anyone in the country. That's how I feel about our fans."

As one of eight scholarship players active for injury-riddled Virginia Tech (11-5), Delaney is carrying a heavy load this year. He averages 18.6 points a game and leads the ACC in minutes played (37.8 pg), nearly four more than the next busiest player in the league.

"As good an athlete as Delaney is, he can play," Williams said. "When I played you got two one-minute timeouts per half. That was it. And they were one minute. The buzzer went off at 45 seconds. Now you get two minutes off every four minutes, so it's like four halftimes in the first half."

Maryland rotates five guards at three slots. In the past, Williams has defended high scorers with multiple players, keeping them fresh.

"You try to make him work hard," Williams said. "But great scorers are gonna get theirs."

Delaney can also expect to "get his" from the fans Thursday night. Maryland knows it can rattle Allen. But Delaney might be tougher to crack.

Either way, be sure to bring the earmuffs for the kids.