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Virginia vs. Maryland Basketball: Game Thread and Regular Season Finale

What: No. 24 Virginia Cavaliers (21-8, 8-7 ACC) vs. Maryland Terrapins (16-13, 6-9 ACC)

Time: 2:00 p.m.
Date: March 1, 2012
Place: Comcast Center
TV: ACC Network, ESPN3
Radio: Virginia Sports Radio Network

Spread: Virginia -4; Pomeroy: Virginia 62, FSU 56 (76%)
Last Meeting: Virginia 71, Maryland 44
Last Time Out: Maryland 64, UNC 88
Series: Maryland leads 106-70

The Cavs have somewhat limped through the end of February and start of March -- both figuratively and literally. No word on when we might see Malcolm Brogdon, who has been struggling with a left foot injury that occurred during practice the week of the first Maryland game, or Assane Sene, who has been out the bulk of the season, who had a fractured right ankle from the dominant win over Georgia Tech.

When asked, Coach Bennett simply replied that, "At the right time, I'll address their status." It appears unlikely that we'll see either of them again this season.

Which means that Virginia, who has nine scholarship players after losing two to transfers as a Christmas gift, is down to just seven available players. One of those, Joe Harris, is playing with a broken left hand, which swelling had only started going down earlier this week.

But, despite losing five of the past eight (twice to Carolina), three of those have been by just three points. This same depleted team nearly survived Florida State's deep bench and dirty tactics, and an only slightly more healthy version nearly survived the ACC officials and North Carolina.

A win today gives Virginia a first round bye in the ACC Tournament. But I'm less focused on the ACC Tournament than the NCAA Tournament, to be honest. A loss today would put Virginia on thin, stressed, slightly-fractured ice and might require some fancy ACC Tournament work to propel the Hoos into the big dance. A win today would all but lock up an at-large bid, though ESPN, CBS and others predict that Virginia is already a lock. Does anyone feel comfortable with this? I didn't think so.

Leave your pre-, in- and post-game thoughts here and Go HOOS!