The University of Maryland basketball team closes its up-and-down regular season against Virginia at 1:30 p.m. today at Cole Field House amid reports of unhappiness among some players and of one player, Steve Hood, considering transferring.

Sources said this week that the players held a team meeting, without coaches, last Sunday. Several topics were discussed, it was learned, including critical remarks made by Coach Bob Wade about some players.

Also, Hood, who had considered transferring from Maryland as far back as December, is again thinking of leaving College Park, sources said. But Hood said Wednesday, "I'm not thinking about it."

Wade said yesterday he did not think there was dissension on the team, nor did he think Hood, a 6-foot-6 sophomore from DeMatha who is averaging 8.6 points a game, was considering leaving the program.

When asked if Hood had ever spoken to him about transferring, Wade said, "No. I have talked to him strictly about basketball."

Asked about comments Wade is said to have made about players, Wade responded by saying, "What I say to other players is my business and the team's business."

Several players questioned declined comment about last Sunday's meeting.

In the midst of this, the Terrapins take a 15-11 record (5-8 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) into Cole for their game with the Cavaliers (13-16, 5-8). This is a contest for fifth place in the final regular season standings and for the fifth seed in the ACC tournament that starts Friday in Greensboro, N.C.

The Cavaliers must win the ACC tournament to get into the NCAA tournament. The Terrapins have some chance of receiving an at-large bid (should they not win the tournament), but they would certainly have to beat Virginia today to be in contention.

The middle of the ACC is still a bit uncertain. The only sure thing is that North Carolina has won the regular season title and will be the top seed in the tournament. North Carolina State (9-4), which beat Maryland, 74-68, Thursday night, is in second and will finish there if it beats Wake Forest Sunday in Raleigh. If North Carolina State loses, the Wolfpack could find themselves in a tie with Georgia Tech and Duke, who are at 8-5.

The Yellow Jackets play at Clemson Saturday; Duke plays host to North Carolina Sunday. If North Carolina State, Georgia Tech and Duke all win, the Yellow Jackets and the Blue Devils would finish tied for third. The third and fourth seed in the tournament would then be decided by picking a name out of hat. The fourth seed would then face the Maryland-Virginia winner.

Meanwhile, the middle of the Big East Conference also is jumbled going into this weekend's games. The Georgetown Hoyas (18-8, 8-7) will play Seton Hall (20-10, 8-7) at 2 p.m. at Capital Centre, with the winner putting itself in position to grab the third seed in the conference tournament that begins Thursday in New York. For Georgetown to finish third, the Hoyas must beat the Pirates and St. John's must lose to Providence. If that occurs, Villanova would be fourth, followed by St. John's, Seton Hall and Boston College.

Providence and Connecticut are already assured of finishing eighth or ninth, depending on what Providence does against St. John's. The Friars and Huskies will meet Thursday in the tournament's first game, with the winner to meet the first-seeded team on Friday. The top seed and the regular season champion will be determined Sunday when Pittsburgh travels to Syracuse.

If St. John's beats Providence, the Redmen automatically finish third. Villanova would be fourth, followed by the winner and then the loser of the Seton Hall-Georgetown game.

If St. John's loses, Seton Hall wins and Pittsburgh wins, Seton Hall would finish third, followed by Villanova, St. John's and Georgetown. If St. John's loses, Seton Hall wins and Syracuse wins, Villanova would finish third followed by Seton Hall, St. John's and Georgetown.

The Hoyas have won two in a row, with victories over St. John's and Providence. In their last meeting with Seton Hall, Feb. 9, Georgetown came back from an eight-point halftime deficit to win, 66-60, at the Meadowlands Arena. Charles Smith led the Hoyas with 28 points.

Maryland's memory of its first meeting with Virginia is not as pleasant. The Terrapins, who were coming off a victory at Duke, were flat and lost, 84-72, in Charlottesville.

"It's my last {regular season} game at Cole Field House," said senior forward Derrick Lewis, "and I'd like to finish with a win."