Regardless of the outcome of tonight's regular-season finale at Cole Field House against Virginia. Maryland will face North Carolina, Duke or North Carolina State in the first round of the Atlantic Cost Conference tournament Wednesday.Each has beaten Maryland twice this year.
With three games today winding up the regular ACC schedule, Maryland's initial tourney opponent will be determined by the teams playing the other two games.
If North Carolina State (7-4) wins at Wake Forest while Duke (8-3) beats North Carolina (8-3). Duke wins the season title for the first time since 1966, drawing the first-round bye. A drawing would determine the No. 2 and 3 seeds between UNC and State, with Maryland facing No. 3.
If North Carolina State wins at Wake Forest while North Carolina beats Duke, North Carolina wins its third straight title, drawing the bye. A drawing would determine the No. 2 and 3 seeds between Duke and State, Maryland playing No. 3.
If North Carolina State loses to Wake Forest, it would be the No. 3 seed and would play Maryland. The winner of the Carolina-Duke game gets the championship and the bye, and the loser is the No. 2 seed.
This much has been determined: Maryland is seeded sixth, Clemson is seventh and Wake Forest and Virgina will be either fourth or fifth.
No. 1 draws a bye in the opening round. No. 2 plays Clemson, No. 3 plays Maryland and Wake Forest plays Virginia.
Clemson has concluded its season at 3-9, but Maryland (3-8), gets the No. 6 spot even if it loses, because it beat Clemson in both meetings this year. The draw, which would take place tomorrow, would occur only to break ties between teams that split their two games.
For the Terrapins, tonight's game is significant as a pretournament egobooster. Maryland played its best game of the year Wednesday in beating Wake Forest but has been unable to win two straight ACC games - something it would like to do before attempting it would like to do before attempting to win three more straight for the ACC tournament title and an NCAA berth. The Terps are 14-11 overall.
"Basketball is a confidence game," said Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell. "If we play with confidence, together, we can win the ACC tournament."
The Cavallers, 19-6 overall, are the coldest team in the ACC, losing four straight since edging Maryland, 66-64, at Charlottesville.
After the 71-54 loss to North Carolina. Virginia Coach Terry Holland altered his starting lineup in an apparent attempt to boost the sagging offense. Holland has benched center Steve Castellan and worked in forward Lee Raker, moving forward Marc Iavaroni to center. Guard Jeff Lamp continues to be the offensive sparkplug, scoring 17.8 points a game, with Kensington's Mike Owens averaging 11.1 at forward.
Driesell said that for the sake of stability, he probably will stay with his starting lineup of guards Greg Manning and JoJo Hunter, forwards Al King and Lawrence Boston and center Larry Gibson.
Driesell probably will make extensive use of 6-foot-6 swingman Ernest Graham at guard, as he has successfully in the last two games, creating a mismatch between Graham and Lamp 6-3. Graham is averaging 15 points over the last four games.
North Carolina stars Phil Ford and Mike O'Koren, who set out the North Carlina State game, will start against Duke today but it is uncertain how much they will play. O'Koren has been sidelined for 12 days with a sprained ankle. Ford for the one game with a sprained wrist. Center Jeff Wolf has a sprained knee but also will play.