In the end, the game comes down to one thing: man against man. May the best man win.
~ Sam Huff
- Page 1 of 109
- 3 ...
Maryland's 61 years as a member of the ACC in basketball ends today. The ACC has been part of the Maryland fan identity for so long that it seems so wrong to be leaving. So much about this move has been sad but the countdown to this day has gotten long and anger has turned into acceptance. Ready or not Big 10, here we come. Before we go, a few goodbyes.
Goodbye Cameron Indoor. Long-time ACC fans can roll the names of venerable buildings off their lips quickly and there are memorable moments for all of those places. Cole, Reynolds, Carmichael, Little John, Dean Dome….all of them hold special memories for league fans but Cameron has always been extra special. Every Maryland game there was a treasure for Terp fans but none was better than Shane Battier's senior night.
Goodbye ACC Tournament. It isn't what it used to be courtesy of expansion but the annual gathering in Greensboro or elsewhere was very much like a family reunion. There was something cool about the pre-expansion Friday quarterfinals with the fans of eight schools slicing the Coliseum into sections of red (MD and State), two shades of blue (Carolina & Duke), two black and yellows (Wake and Tech), one orange (Clemson), and one orange & blue (UVA). I left out Florida State because, well, they’re Florida State.
Four Friday games with an equally divided arena turned into two huge Saturday semifinal games, one of which usually included Carolina and all their fans that had scooped up tickets from the Friday losers.
The ACC Tournament was an incredible pressure-cooker back in the day. #1 N.C. State's overtime win over #4 Maryland in the epic 1974 Final was a win or go home game. Simply put, it was the greatest ACC game ever and arguably the best college basketball game of all-time. Thompson, Burleson, Towe and Sloan went on to a national title. McMillan, Elmore, Lucas, and Lefty sat and watched. That game resulted in an NCAA rule ("The Maryland Rule") allowing more than one team per conference to get an NCAA bid.
Those of us that have loved this tournament over the years only need a name or a circumstance to wander down memory lane. Here are a few....Phil Ford, Wally Walker, UNC Four-Corners Ralph, Dennard undercuts Buck, Jimmy V, Len Bias & Lefty, Mark Price, Randolph Childress, Carolina vs. Duke/pick one, JJ Redick, John Gilchrist, Thacker and Packer.
Goodbye season-enders against Virginia. Almost every year during my lifetime, Maryland finished up its season against Virginia. A season-ender in Piscataway against Rutgers won't feel quite the same....all due respect. Senior day/night in both Charlottesville and College Park often included a memorable game.
After rolling out the portraits of Ralph, McMillan, Lucas, Lamp, Buck, Bias, Stith, Staples, Singletary, Dixon, Blake, Vasquez, there was a game. Almost all of them included big stakes for at least one of the teams. Ralph's rebound of a missed a free throw and put-back in his final game at U-Hall was an all-timer. That one came a year after Branch's shot shocked the #1 Cavs at Cole. Bias' senior day included a vicious beat down of Olden Polynice. Wow was his senior day an electric day at Cole. The final game ever at Cole in 2002 was a 30-point win over UVA. Virginia rallied from 13-down to win in overtime and dealt a blow to Maryland's NCAA hopes in last year's season-closer. So long Virginia in early March.
Goodbye Tobacco Road. Maryland was always the Yankee outsider but it thrived in that role. No team in league history was more of a consistent threat to Tobacco Road supremacy than Maryland was. Both Lefty and Gary won big games on the road against all four Carolina schools. Ask both of them and they'll probably tell you that wins at Carolina, Duke, State and Wake were bigger than many of the wins they got in College Park. There was something so satisfying when the Terps went into Cameron Indoor or the Dean Dome and won. They seemed to understand more than anyone else in the league that you don't win decisions on Tobacco Road, you needed a knockout. And when they got one, it was thrilling.
Goodbye Carolina. Playing North Carolina was always big. It didn't matter where it was or when it was, when the schedule came out, you looked for the Carolina games. Maryland's history with Carolina is special for Maryland fans. Lefty vs. Dean was always a big deal. There were pros galore in those matchups back in the day. Worthy, Jordan, Perkins, Buck, Albert, Bias, Branch. Gary owned Roy. Dean owned Lefty. McMillan beat McAdoo. Ford and Lucas were even. Jordan beat Bias on the regular but when Jordan was gone, Bias went for 35 in Dean Dome's first defeat. Jimmy Black's steal won the '81 Tourney Final over the Terps in Landover. Antawn Jamsion's put-back at the horn silenced a roaring 14,500 at Cole. Joe Smith's first big game against Carolina was a win on one of the loudest nights in Cole history. Greivis Vasquez's triple-double in 2009 bested Hansbrough and Lawson. Maryland has beaten more #1 teams than any in the history of the league and many of them were against the Heels.
Goodbye State. Maryland's rivalry with the Pack in the '70's was the best in college basketball for nearly a decade. It was so big that one of their two games for 5 straight years was televised nationally on NBC right before the Super Bowl. N.C. State and Maryland are the only other ACC schools other than Carolina and Duke that have won National Championships. There's always been a certain "us-against-them" kinship that the fan bases have shared as both spent a ton of time looking up at Carolina and Duke. John Feinstein wrote in his book on ACC basketball several years ago that Norm Sloan and Lefty would talk once a week and the conversation usually started with one of them asking...."do you know what that damn Dean did today?"
Goodbye Duke-Carolina. You didn't have to be a fan of either school to know how important the two Duke/UNC games were every year for the entirety of the conference. While those two played on a Wednesday night in February or a season-closing Saturday or Sunday in early March, the rest of the league watched and understood that this is good for all of us.
Goodbye Maryland-Duke games in College Park. With little debate, the annual MD-Duke game at Cole or Comcast has been the most raucous atmosphere for any sporting event in the DC/Baltimore area for years. Skins-Cowboys and Ravens-Steelers are close, but the scene in College Park for Duke was unique.
Goodbye Coach K. Maryland faithful rarely extended pleasantries when he came for his annual visit but most of us admit a great deal of respect for one of the great coaches in the history of the sport. The legendary coaches have been a huge part of the league over the years. That legendary list in my lifetime doesn't need last names....Dean, Norm, Lefty, Jimmy V., Gary, Roy, and K. That's the list from the 70's on.
Goodbye ACC Chants. Not the sarcastic chants towards Maryland this year but the prideful A-C-C chants made after beating a Big East or Big 10 team, especially when it happened in the NCAA Tournament. Maryland fans wore the ACC badge with great pleasure and honor as a charter member for 61 years.
Goodbye College Park as the place the rest of the league hated to visit. There was a certain joy taken by Maryland in being the place the rest of the league thumbed their noses at. Games at Cole and Comcast were loud, crass, and borderline offensive to visitors. There’s no doubt that families and friends of Duke, Carolina, and UVA didn’t look forward to the trip up north and many times avoided it. There weren’t many blazers in the crowd. The mix was Baltimore, DC, with a big help from NY and Philly. Oh, and don’t forget the necks from the Eastern Shore. The atmosphere for a big ACC game was unlike any other in the conference. Cameron Indoor was loud mixed with clever. Cole and/or Comcast was twice as big, twice as loud, and clever was replaced with confrontational. I know the rest of the league gathered in private circles and spoke snobbishly about College Park. Stories of batteries being thrown and vulgar chants were somewhat exaggerated but believe it or not, the fear factor of an ACC game in College Park will be missed by everyone.
Goodbye ACC. Maryland will miss you.
The final Maryland-Duke game seemed fitting. Everyone involved did what they've always done.
Maryland did their part. They fought Duke tooth and nail like they usually do. The Terps were gunning for their 14th win over Duke in as many seasons. No other team has won that much against Duke during that span. There was no fear of Cameron. The Terps swung back at Duke. It's what they've always done.
Duke did their part. They dug down for that something extra that they rarely have needed against most of the other ACC teams. They got a key stop on defense and big-time drive and dunk for the game-winner.
The Cameron Crazies did their part. They serenaded the Terps with A-C-C chants and then for old time sake, chanted "Sweat Gary sweat". Gary hasn't been there for 3 years but it was a nice gesture. When it became obvious to the Crazies that per usual, Maryland came to win rather than fold, it got loud....real loud. Coach K said after the game, "that was vintage Cameron man, that was one for the ages."
And of course, the referees did their part. They whistled 12 fouls on Maryland during the first 13 minutes of the game despite the fact Duke was shooting threes while the Terps were attacking the rim. At that point, Maryland was on pace for 37 fouls for the game. They finished with a mere 25 for the game....still 7 more than the home team. Other than that, not much except a simple case of oops on the possession arrow. Yes, the held ball with just over 7 minutes left in the game was indeed supposed to be Maryland's possession but somehow (I'm sure innocently??) the refs gave it to Duke. It wasn't a big deal or anything. The Terps had a 2-pt lead and would've had a chance to extend it but instead, Amile Jefferson took the possession gift and tied the game with a runner in the lane.
Lastly, it was another in a long line of Maryland-Duke thrillers which seemed fitting and this time, final.
Barring a matchup in the ACC Tournament, Maryland's game at Duke tonight will be the last between the two as ACC foes. The promise of huge Big 10 profits is the reason one of the great ACC rivalries (yes it's a rivalry) will end tomorrow and it's sad. My personal memories of the 5 best Maryland wins and 5 worst Maryland losses in the 174-game history with Duke.
1. 2004 ACC Championship. John Gilchrist completed an incredible MVP weekend by completing a 3-point play to tie the game late in regulation leading to a Terp win in overtime. The Terps trailed by 10 with 3 to go and roared back for Gary Williams' only ACC Tournament title.
2. Shane Battier Senior Night. Maryland and Duke played four memorable games in 2000....the 2nd of those 4 was sweet revenge. A month after "Gone in 60 seconds" (see below), the Terps got revenge in Duke's home finallee. Juan Dixon was unstoppable on offense (28 pts) and relentless on defense (5 steals) as the Terps spoiled Senior Night for Shane Battier, 91-80. No team beat Duke at Cameron Indoor more than Maryland did in the 2000's and each one felt great but none more than this one.
3. Lefty Finally Wins ACC Tournament. Lefty Driesell was 0-3 in ACC Finals until Len Bias scored 26 including an array of spectacular dunks en route to a 74-62 win over Duke. It was Coach K's first ACC final and it would be the last for Lefty who once said he'd take the ACC trophy if he won it, place it on the hood of his car, and drive it around the entire state of North Carolina. He didn't do it but long-time ACC fans from any state would've loved to see him do it.
4. Vasquez Leads Terps To ACC Regular Season Title. Greivis Vasquez banked in a tough floater from the right wing with 37 seconds left to lift Maryland to its first ACC regular season title in 8 years. In front of an electric sold-out Comcast Center, Vasquez scored 20 points in his final home game and wrapped up ACC Player of the Year honors in the process.
5. Blake's Steal. #1 Duke at #3 Maryland for the ACC regular season lead was part of a 5-year stretch where the rivalry was white-hot and at it's peak. Cole Field House was packed to the rafters 45 minutes before the tip. As the first-half clock wound down with Jason Williams dribbling the ball near halfcourt and looking back at Coach K for the final play, Steve Blake made a burst towards the ball, ripped the ball from Williams, and scored with 1 second left in the half. The play gave the Terps a 9-point halftime lead and too much momentum for Duke to overcome.
1. Gone in 60 Seconds. There were a ton of heartbreaking losses to Duke to choose from and most would probably say the Final 4 loss was the worst but nothing was ever so stunning as what happened on a late Janaury 2001 night at Cole. The Terps were in total command and on the verge of a big win over Duke but up 10 with a minute to go, they blew it. Jason Williams scored 8 of Duke's 10 consecutive points to force overtime as 14,500 sat shocked and silent. The Devils had all the momentum and hung on for a 98-96 win. I remember just sitting in my seat for a full 15 minutes after the game ended trying to figure out what the hell had just happened.
2. Final 4...Up 22...and then... Among the 4 epic games played against Duke in 2001, the last one was in the Final 4 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The Terps roared to a 39-17 first half lead and once again, couldn't hold it. Duke chipped away until they took the lead with just over 7 minutes left in the game. This loss was painful because of some typical one-sided Duke officiating including Carlos Boozer grabbing, holding, and tripping Lonny Baxter but somehow Baxter fouled out and Boozer stayed in the game.
3. Kenny Dennard Undercuts Buck Williams. In the 1980 ACC Tournament Final, ACC Player of the Year Albert King had a nice look from 17-feet to beat Duke. The shot was short and hung on the rim. Buck Williams was in perfect position to tip it in for the game-winner until Duke's Kenny Dennard undercut Williams, causing him to lose his balance and fall awkwardly to the floor. The no-call gave Duke the title and left Lefty Driesell still searching for his first.
4. Nate James' Tip-In. In front of 40,000+ at the Georgia Dome, the 3rd of the 4 games in 2001 was a classic. Nate James tipped in a missed Chris Duhon shot with a second left to beat the Terps 84-82 in the ACC Tournament semi-finals. The final 30 seconds were breathtaking with no timeouts called by either team. Steve Blake hit a 3 to tie it with 10 seconds left. James' tip-in gave Duke the lead and then Juan Dixon's shot from 40-feet at the buzzer just barely missed. After the game, Coach K told Gary Williams, "see you in a few weeks". He was right. They met less than a month later in the Final 4.
5. Stevie Shutdown. Maryland and Duke appeared to be the two best teams in the ACC when they met as top-5 teams in early-January, 1999. Maryland was ranked 4th and Steve Francis appeared at the time to be the best player in the country. Duke came in ranked 2nd with Elton Brand and company in a game that was hyped as one of the biggest of the year. Francis went 3 for 14 from the field and Duke went on a 19-3 run early in the 2nd half to win going away 82-64. Maryland took 2 of 3 from North Carolina that year but couldn't get close to Duke during a season where the Terps were ranked in the top 10 and as high as #2 all season long.
WHAT'S THE FRIDAY FOOTBALL SMELL TEST?
Sunday, February 3rd
WHAT'S THE FRIDAY FOOTBALL SMELL TEST?
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Mark Turgeon's 3rd season at Maryland has been a rough go so far. Wednesday night’s win at home over Notre Dame will quiet an increasingly agitated fan base for the moment but another season without some March dancing won’t play well in Terp Land.
Maryland basketball fans are passionate but also impatient, combative, and confrontational. There's a ton of Jersey, Long Island, and Philly in this fan base. Throw in some old salt Eastern Shore and the grumbling usually comes with fists clenched.
Basketball is the sport that matters in College Park. No bowl game for Edsall, no big deal. No NCAA tournament for a 4th straight year, major deal.
With that said, whispers from a few about running Turgeon out of town after this year if they miss the tournament is ridiculous.
For starters, there's a top-10 recruiting class led by local standout Melo Trimble on the way next year. For Gary Williams’ last few years, the biggest complaint was recruiting. Turgeon has the program’s first top-10 class in 12 years on the way to College Park.
Secondly, Turgeon can coach. He's won everywhere and has consistently been viewed as a coach whose teams got more out of less and almost always improved as the season went on.
His last three teams at Texas A&M won two-thirds of its games from mid-February on.
His first two teams at Maryland played some its best basketball late in the season. Terrell Stoglin was nearly impossible to coach yet Turge had him playing his basketball in the final weeks of 2012.
Last year, the Terps beat Duke twice including a flawless beat down of the Devils in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. They had Carolina on the ropes in the ACC semis, a win that would've put them in the NCAA Tournament but fell one 3-pointer short.
This year’s underwhelming 11-7 record has a reasonable explanation. Seth Allen’s preseason injury cost them dearly. What’s clear after just a few games back is that Allen isn’t just the team’s best point guard; he might be their best player.
Home losses to Oregon State and Boston University would've been reversed.
Losses to GW and UConn may have turned out differently as well.
Instead of 11-7, they'd be no worse than 13-5 and they would be right in the middle of the NCAA at-large discussion had Allen not gotten hurt.
Despite what some of the message-board dummies think, Turgeon is a solid coach and his 3rd season is far from dead. There are 13 games left before Maryland’s final ACC Tournament in Greensboro. The NCAA bubble once again looks soft. Teams that in previous years wouldn’t have had a chance will find themselves surprisingly in the hunt for one of the 68 spots. Maryland can still be one of those.
The Terps will likely need a minimum of 11 conference wins considering their rough non-conference November and December. That’s an 8-5 rest of the way. That rest of the way must include at least a pair of marquee wins but they’ll have plenty of chances with Pitt and Syracuse at home, Virginia twice, and Duke on the road.
It would be nice if the fan base did their part over the next six weeks. The first-half crowd the other night against Notre Dame was lifeless. The atmosphere stunk for a team that needed a push.
20 years ago, Maryland made its first of 14 trips to the NCAA tournament under Gary Williams. It was a tournament trip that hung in the balance most of the year until a season-closing win at home over Virginia. That entire season Cole Field House was electric and desperate to get back to the dance.
This year’s team closes with Virginia too. There are 6 home games between now and then. A heated and blood-thirsty Comcast Center for all of those games could be the difference between March smiles or sadness.
- Page 1 of 109
- 3 ...