The Washington Times - July 22, 2009, 11:52AM

In case you haven’t seen it, J.P. Giglio of the News & Observer is in the middle of his ACC basketball lookahead.

Today’s installment includes Maryland.

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There’s a lot on that blog, of course, and this serves as my semi-annual reminder to bookmark it.

In any case, here’s his (typically blunt) assessment of the Terrapins:

The Terps went 7-9 last season with an unconventional lineup and inconsistent results. Like Boston College, their an NCAA Tournament team that returns four starters and they have an edge in experience, and coaching, over the ACC teams chasing UNC and Duke.

With two new big bodies - who unless they pull a Braxton Dupree, will play right away - [Gary] Williams addressed the biggest concern from last season.

[Greivis] Vasquez, who’ll be 23 by the ACC Tournament, could have opted to go pro (he was projected as a second-round pick) but his kinship with Williams brought him back to College Park. That kept Williams from having to perform a true coaching miracle.

The Terps should improve from last year’s mark which brings them to the nine or 10-win range, and who knows, with another shocker over UNC (they only meet in College Park this year), maybe all the way to the top.

And that does about cover it in four paragraphs.

As for the picks Giglio and Robbi Pickeral produced earlier this week, both had Maryland in the top half of the league.

One thing that’s a little befuddling is how down both are on Clemson. If this was merely an assessment of the Tigers tendency to self-combust in March, then fine, a second-division finish would make sense.

But Clemson has arguably the best frontcourt player in the conference in Trevor Booker, and plenty of athletes who will create havoc for a lot of opponents.

Tigertown isn’t quite the same as it was earlier in the decade, and it would come as a serious surprise here if Oliver Purnell doesn’t have Clemson back for its third straight NCAA appearance next March.

Patrick Stevens