Maryland has a rematch Thursday night with North Carolina State, the only Atlantic Coast Conference club the Terrapins have mastered in four league games this season.
But the Wolfpack team Maryland overwhelmed several weeks ago at College Park is not the same outfit the Terrapins are about to meet. State has rebounded, is 3-1 in the ACC and 10-5 overall. The Wolfpack has reversed losses to North Carolina and Duke.
"Maryland defeated us more convincingly than North Carolina did," coach Norm Sloan said today. "We'll see how much improvement we've made in playing Maryland. It's more than a conference game to me: it's a yardstick of how far we've come.
"If Brad Davis beats us baseline to baseline, as he did in the first game; if the offense stands around like we did; if they outrebound us like they did, then we haven't shown any improvement."
Sloan said the key to his team's turnabout has been his rookies playing to a level of intensity neither attained nor needed in high school. "It's the emotional and psycholigical maturity that's the key," the coach said.
Maryland forward Lawrence Boston agreed. "We're in the ACC now and our your people see what's happening." Boston said. "They can see how serious it is and everybody just has to have a serious attitude about doing the best we can. If we do that, I think we can win."
Sloan, who like Maryland's Lefty Driesell, had much young talent this season, has settled on using only six players, including four rookies.
He expects to start 7-foot Glenn Sudhopat center with 6-7 Kenny Carr, 6-5 Charles (Hawkeye) Whitney, 6-6 Tony Warren and 6-1 point guard Clyde (The Glide) Austin. The last three are freshmen and so is Brian Walker, the sixth man.
Driesell hinted Tuesday that he might rest Steve Sheppard in the game to be shown on WMAL-TV-7. 9 p.m. But later Driesell said, "It depends on how his foot is."
With Billy Bryant, who was the starting wing guard and could also play Sheppard's wing forward position until he was lost with a broken hand and James (Turk) Tillman suspended, Driesell has no backup behind Sheppard at the position the Terps expected to be deep in talent.