The Washington Times - January 10, 2009, 08:20PM

It’s not impossible for Maryland to have a reasonably successful ACC season.

But even the most upbeat Terrapins fan would have said (even before today) the margin for error is rather slim by the standards the program set in the last 15 years.

SEE RELATED:


Reasonably, the Terps have a little to-do list of five items. Don’t get three, and chances are things won’t end well.

OK, it’s not their to-do list. It’s mine. But it makes sense when you look at it. The categories are:

* Capable 3-point shooting (at least five 3FG, no worse than 33.3 percent shooting)
* A good game from the best player, Greivis Vasquez (double figure scoring, assist/TO is > 1, sound overall game)
* Excellent defense (yield 70- points or sub-40 percent shooting)
* Break even in rebounding
* Commit no more than 15 turnovers

Alas, Potent Potables did not make the list.

But this seems like a reasonable list, no? So let’s look in on how the Terps have fared so far in 15 games:

Opponent3FG 
Vasquez
Reb.TO
Bucknellx
xxx
Youngstown St.

xx
x
Vermontxx
x
vs. Michigan St.
xxx
x
vs. Gonzaga



x
vs. Georgetown




x
Michigan
xxxx
vs. GW
xxxxx
Delaware State

xxxx
Americanxxxxx
Bryantxxxxx
Elonxxxxx
Charlottexx
xx
Morgan State


xx
Georgia Tech


x
x

Here’s what to make of this chart:

When Maryland receives all five things, it is 4-0. Each win can by at least 16 points.

When Maryland receives four things, it is 5-0. Perfection, obviously, isn’t required.

When Maryland receives three things, it is 2-0. Included is an overtime defeat of Vermont.

When Maryland receives only one or two things, it is 1-3.

The exception was today against Georgia Tech. Maryland played superb defense, and it committed only 13 turnovers.

It also shot horribly from the perimeter and was handled on the glass. For much of the game, Vasquez was erratic, and even attracted some boos he did not take kindly to (more on that in tomorrow’s dead-tree edition). It wasn’t his worst game, and he saved his best play for the final 10 minutes, but he’s also performed better in the past.

The point, though, is Maryland cannot replicate that sort of game and hope to win many more times this season. Most teams with Georgia Tech’s size will be able to exploit that advantage. Miami, by the way, is one of those teams.

So the Terps should enjoy the result of their conference opener. They won without their fastball, even if it was against an opponent that could soon be safely entrenched in the bottom third of the ACC.

But there can’t be a rerun of this, or else Maryland will be joining the Yellow Jackets there quite quickly.

Patrick Stevens