The only thing worse than losing to Georgia Tech in basketball is losing to Northwestern in football. If Maryland, at home, couldn't beat Georgia Tech (even the new, maybe improved brand), is there anybody in the Atlantic Coast Conference the Terrapins can beat?

Following Maryland's 45-43 humiliation Wednesday night by the Rambling Wreck, only Tech's second victory in 29 ACC games, Terrapin Coach Lefty Driesell has some serious evaluating to do.

"If we can't beat Georgia Tech at home . . . I don't know what to think," Driesell said yesterday. "That really bothers me. You should never lose like that at home, unless you're sorry. Either that, or Georgia Tech is going to surprise a lot of people."

Nevertheless, Driesell gave the team Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, scheduling practice on Saturday night before Sunday morning departure for Los Angeles. The Maryland men's and women's teams play at UCLA Tuesday night. Beginning Thursday, Driesell plans two-a-day practices to prepare for North Carolina here Jan. 6.

"We need the extra practice," Driesell said, "because, obviously, we aren't that strong. But I don't want to go to overboard on that Tech game because when a game ends up with the score in the 40s like that one did, anybody can win."

As Tech did with its last shot.

Driesell said the team will work on getting the ball inside more, to forward Herman Veal and center Charles Pittman. Veal was effective inside when he did get the ball, but he only took nine shots; not nearly enough against a short team like Georgia Tech.

Driesell said the team also will do more outside shooting in practice. The Terps shot 35 percent from the field against Tech.

"The shooting really bothers me," Driesell said, "because our teams have always shot 50 percent or better. Maybe we haven't been shooting enough in practice."

Pete Holbert and Jeff Adkins, the two best outside shooters on the team, combined for one field goal in 13 attempts against the Yellow Jackets. Holbert, Maryland's designated zone breaker, played 17 minutes and missed all five of his shots. Adkins, shooting 23 percent since becoming a starter two games ago, made one of eight.

Steve Rivers, who started one early season game at guard, did not play at all. Nor did Taylor Baldwin, usually the first big man off the bench. Driesell said he would not second-guess any of his personnel moves, and would probably go with the same starting lineup against the 15th-ranked Bruins (5-2).

"We'll stay with the same guys," Driesell said. "But if UCLA plays their big team (with Stuart Gray in the middle and Kenny Fields and Mike Sanders at forward) we may play Taylor Baldwin with Charles Pittman."

In national games late Wednesday night, No. 7 San Francisco needed two free throws by Ken McAlister with 13 seconds left to defeat visiting Colgate, 65-62 . . . St. John's, upcoming first Big East opponent for Georgetown, beat previously undefeated Temple, 68-61, in New York behind 24 points by freshman guard Chris Mullin and 20 by forward David Russell . . . Wichita State, ranked third, got 22 points from guard Tony Martin to top Detroit, 79-70 . . . No. 8 Louisville followed its upset loss to Oregon State by beating Morehead State, 103-70.