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Top of the Arc - January 7, 2009

Jan. 7, 10:15 p.m.: Just when you thought it was safe to start believing in this Maryland team, right?

Tonight’s loss to Morgan State will shadow this team the rest of the season, much like losses to American and Ohio did last season. Morgan State had a 4-8 record against Division I teams and an RPI of 159. That RPI will likely get even worse when Morgan State gets into the heart of the MEAC season because most of the teams in the MEAC have RPIs of 200 or worse.

Maryland couldn’t shoot the three. Greivis Vasquez couldn’t make a shot. So they squandered a 14-point lead, failed to contain sharpshooter Reggie Holmes and failed to take advantage of chances in the final minute after Morgan State kept missing free throws.

The result is a loss that offsets the Michigan State victory earlier in the season. The season is by no means over. I’ll find out the damage to the Terps’ RPI tomorrow morning. But Maryland probably needs to win nine or 10 ACC games. And it needs a few road victories. The team has not even played a true road game yet.

Maryland now has virtually no margin for error if it wants to make the NCAAs. A hot start to the ACC season is critical if you consider the final stretch of the regular season: Four of Maryland’s last six games are against top 12 opponents. And the only two games that aren’t – Virginia and North Carolina State – are on the road. Maryland really needs to win three of its first four ACC games.

That’s a daunting scenario for the Terrapins, but that’s what they face after a loss that will have season-long ramifications. Maybe it could be a little worse. Harvard beat Boston College in Chestnut Hill by double digits.

By Eric Prisbell  |  January 7, 2009; 10:15 PM ET
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