Just four games remain in Maryland's season of perseverance and overachievement, and one significant goal -- a winning record -- is left on its docket. The Terps can assure at least a break-even campaign tonight when they travel to Blacksburg, Va., to face Virginia Tech.

This will be one of the few recent games in which Maryland (13-11) does not appear outmanned. The Hokies (10-13) lost 10 of 11 games before beating Louisville and Cincinnati at home last week, and Coach Frankie Allen's young club has been so unsettled that 13 players have started at least once.

But the Terrapins have won on the road just once in eight tries and indications are that Walt Williams -- out since Jan. 12 with a fractured in his left leg -- likely will not play tonight. Maryland Coach Gary Williams said yesterday that his junior point guard still is working into shape, and there apparently is no rush to bring him back.

The Terps ended a three-game losing streak by beating Georgia Tech Wednesday and they trailed North Carolina by just two points at halftime Saturday before giving in to fatigue and a 26-12 scoring burst en route to an 87-75 defeat.

Allen admires what Gary Williams and Maryland have accomplished under trying circumstances.

"They're a lot like us," he said yesterday. "They've been through a lot of adversity, with the probation and all the players leaving the program. And now, Gary's got them playing so hard all the time. Any time you play hard, you're going to have a chance to win ballgames."

Replied Williams: "It's not me; it's the players. The players are working so hard. . . . They just really wanted to see what they could do, and they've done some things that people didn't think they could do."

After tonight, the Terrapins finish with three Atlantic Coast Conference games: home against Wake Forest, then at North Carolina State and Virginia.

Since 1978 Virginia Tech is 86-9 in non-Metro Conference games at Cassell Coliseum. But this has been a season of struggle for the Hokies, who have just one senior -- 6-foot-5 forward and leading scorer Antony Moses -- getting significant playing time. They avoided the school's first seven-game losing streak in nearly 40 years by winning at Louisville last month.

Maryland beat Virginia Tech last season at Cole Field House in the teams' first meeting in 36 years, and Allen insists there's extra flavor for the matchup.

"They're not an in-state opponent and they're not in our league," he said. "But because of geography, it ends up being a pretty good rivalry. . . . About 65 to 70 percent of our student body comes from the metropolitan Washington area. They grew up on Maryland basketball. On my {radio call-in} show this week, I had a couple students calling up to say, 'Just make sure you beat Maryland.' "

Terrapins Notes: Senior center Cedric Lewis needs one more blocked shot to guarantee his breaking Ralph Sampson's ACC record average of 4.6 blocks per game. Lewis's 129 blocks would rank as the second-best team total in the ACC, behind only Clemson's 134.