If Maryland's to have any chance at all to make the NCAA Tournament, as an at-large or otherwise, the consensus is that they'll need to do some serious damage in the ACC Tournament coming up this week. And now we know, more or less, the path ahead of the Terps, regardless of whether they can top Virginia tomorrow.
After Florida State upset N.C. State earlier today, the Seminoles clinched the sixth seed in the tournament; Maryland can't eclipse their .500 record, and the 'Noles hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their season sweep of the Terps. And should the Terps lose, their 7-9 conference mark is still several games ahead of the next closest competitor, Georgia Tech.
So that means, whether or not Maryland can pull off an upset at Virginia tomorrow, they'll be the seventh-seed in the ACC Tournament when it kicks off on Thursday; they'll face either Virginia Tech or Wake Forest in the opener, depending on which of the two wins their meeting tomorrow. The good news: those are the only two teams Maryland swept in the ACC, winning both of their road games against them with ease. Avoiding a first-round meeting with Boston College, which frankly looked like they'd beat Maryland on a neutral court based on their two meetings this year, is a relief, and gives the Terps a game they should be favored in to kick things off. And as an added bonus, grabbing the #7 seed means that the Terps don't play during the day, avoiding the inconvenience of the 2:00 tip their fanbase suffered last season.
Should Maryland get past the Hokies or Deacs, they'll meet Duke on the tournament's second day - frighteningly enough, a Duke finally featuring Ryan Kelly, which makes the Blue Devils probably the best team in the ACC at the moment. It's a game Maryland needs to win to have any meaningful postseason play, and it's probably the toughest draw they could've hoped for with UNC potentially waiting in the next round (I'd have happily taken Miami instead, in fact).
Sadly, you don't get to choose your fate when it comes to seedings, and Maryland's is set. If somebody's about to channel the ghost of John Gilchrist - Dez Wells for realism, Pe`Shon Howard for the irony - and take the Terps a miracle run through to the final, it'll be through a plenty tough path.