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* Gary Williams said a couple victories in Atlanta would likely gain the Terps entrance into the NCAA tournament.

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He qualified his remarks to make sure everyone listening knew he was not looking past N.C. State in Thursday night's opener.

"N.C. State -- that's the whole key," he said.

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* Some faithful blog posters have suggested it's time to be realistic and quit thinking about the NCAA tournament this season.

My response as a sportswriter following the team is in two parts:

1) Why?

2) Speculating about NCAA prospects is much more fun than assessing where the Terps might open in the NIT. I'm just not mentally prepared for that yet.

* You know it and I know it: for the Terps to win any games in the ACC tournament at all, they must go to the foul line more.

Maryland shot six free throws against Virginia, and two against Wake Forest. Getting to the foul line a lot is a good indicator of aggressive play. It means you're driving the lane and competing for offensive rebounds.

Maryland's free-throw percentage has fallen as the year has progressed. It's now 73.9 percent. But that's still pretty good (fifth in the ACC) and it's better than the 70.3 it shot last season. The Terps don't score enough in other ways to have the luxury of not shooting lots of free throws.

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