Not yet. Maybe in about a month, when they meet again in Chapel Hill, Maryland will be more poised against North Carolina. Maybe in two months, if the teams are matched in the ACC tournament. Maybe not until J.R. Reid ascends to the pros.

The Terrapins' first big-deal game against Carolina under Bob Wade ended the way lots have in the past, with the Tar Heels more dominant than the six-point margin suggests.

Carolina's parade of stars kept right on filing through the Cole Field House tunnel: Charlie Scott, Mike O'Koren, James Worthy, Michael Jordan and now Reid, who missed just two of 11 field-goal tries and scored 24 points.

For Maryland, the most hopeful sign was that none of the players accepted losing to the second-ranked Tar Heels very well. They admitted Carolina played splendidly; they were angry with themselves for errors subtle and obvious.

"Every {loss} has to be a learning experience," freshmen center Brian Williams said. "So far, we've had four learning experiences. This is tough to take, because we played poorly."

"They executed," said Tony Massenburg, who seldom touched the ball, "we didn't."

For Maryland, the first sign that great expectations might not be fulfilled came when Brian Williams' father, Gene, an original Platter, arrived too late to sing the National Anthem.

For Carolina, the first order of business was crowd control. It wasn't that Maryland officials were not keeping the customers in hand; the Tar Heels wanted them more silent.

The big-game transition from Lefty Driesell to Wade featured some changes. Driesell's early years were marked by V-for-victory signs from the coach and "Hail to the Chief" from the school band.

Wade walked onto the court and applauded the applause cascading over him and his players.

Either way, Cole was a den of din.

More accurately, the place was a noise box until Carolina crawled inside some Maryland jerseys and scored twice as much midway through the first half.

Carolina's major contributor had very few points in the early going that sent the game out of Maryland's reach. He was Scott Williams, who helped assure that Maryland's very good inside player, Massenburg, would not be a major factor.

"They did a great job of denying me the ball," said Massenburg, who had just four shots from the field and made only one. "Williams was in front; J.R. was behind."

Point guard Rudy Archer would look toward his buddy, Massenburg, but then Scott Williams, with those long arms, would make any pass close to impossible. And when Archer did penetrate and dish off the ball, Brian Williams or Derrick Lewis would turn it over.

Lewis was especially frustrated. He has seemed more than a little uncomfortable at his new position, small forward, this season; in the first half last night, he had one basket, one rebound and three fouls.

Lewis did finish with six for nine from the field and six rebounds. But he and most of the other Terrapins also were machine-like in clanking free throws off the rim.

Maryland almost certainly will not be a factor, in the ACC and nationally, until it starts making a reasonable percentage of his free shots.

Once Carolina tamed the crowd with a 25-14 lead 12-plus minutes into the game, Reid began shrinking the Terrapins. He got their best inside players (Massenburg and Lewis) in foul trouble and also scored eight points.

"Stupid fouls," Lewis called them.

Indeed, one figured Maryland's defenders would eventually stop falling for those head pumps by Reid and leaving their feet. They rarely did, Lewis once landing on Reid's side.

Probably, Wade was telling his nervous young players to hold their heads and their feet. Poise seemed an early problem; being suckered off the floor by Reid never was totally solved, Massenburg and Lewis both missing about 40 per cent of the game with foul trouble.

Of Lewis, one of several pro scouts in attendance said: "He's got to shoot the ball better and put it on the floor better if he's going to be a factor {in the NBA}. I don't think he can play inside {in the pros}."

Lots of times, Maryland was woefully undermanned and inexperienced. Once, because of fouls and ailing Cedric Lewis and Rodney Walker in street clothes, it had four guards on the floor.

Perhaps unintentionally, Carolina Coach Dean Smith chose at one point to show that his team was even younger. On the floor with sophomore Reid were three freshman: King Rice, Rick Fox and redshirt Pete Chilcutt.

Fact is, Smith did not have a senior he could trust in the game, Ranzino Smith having missed his second straight game with an injury.

Still, Reid is the same as Worthy, Jordan and all the others, an underclass collegian everywhere except on the court.

Immediately in the second half, Reid scored with a move low, with a short turnaround from the left base line and a drive and free throw.

As Smith had hoped, Maryland's fans were growing more quiet. By the time the Terrapins made a modest run in the final two minutes, many were hustling outside. They had seen this sort of thing before.