What will Maryland miss about the ACC?

What will Maryland miss about the ACC?
November 19, 2012, 11:45 pm
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Gary Williams reacts to Maryland's move to the Big Ten

Increased financial stability ultimately led University of Maryland President Wallace Loh to pursue membership in the Big Ten athletic conference. For Maryland, almost 60 years of ACC tradition was tossed aside for the greener pastures of the Midwest and the revenues delivered by the Big Ten television network.

As Maryland fans grapple with the conference shift, CSN examined some of the aspects of life in the ACC that Maryland fans might miss most.

Tradition -- For multiple generations of Terp fans, a prominent place in the ACC was a source of pride. Maryland was a founding member of the conference in 1953, and for almost 50 years Maryland served as the northern most point in the ACC. While many in the Terp crowd claimed that the conference held a bias for its North Carolina teams, Maryland won multiple championships in basketball and football. Non-revenue sports in the ACC are another strength; Maryland enjoyed much success in ACC men's and women's lacrosse, soccer and field hockey amid some of the best competition in the country.

College basketball experts still speak of the famous N.C State-Maryland 1974 ACC Tournament championship game.

The matchup featured 10 players that would go on to the NBA, and N.C. State's 103-100 overtime win led to big changes for the NCAA. In 1974, only conference champions made the NCAA Tournament. After that Maryland team failed to make the tournament, despite finishing the year ranked the No. 5 team in the country, the NCAA expanded the tournament from 32 to 48 teams.  

Duke Rivalry -- While Maryland enjoyed many great years in men's basketball throughout its time in the ACC, when the Terps were at their best in the early 2000s, Duke often played the role of heel.

No rivalry in the ACC was as intense at that point as the Jason Williams and J.J. Redick Duke squads facing up with the Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter Maryland teams.

Many would argue that the most heartbreaking loss a Maryland team ever suffered came in the 2001 Final Four, an epic collapse against a Duke team that would go on to win the national championship. But that loss also propelled the Terps to their first and only national title the following year.

 A bitter memory for Maryland fans, Duke also registered an absurd win in Cole Field House in the infamous "Miracle Minute" game. 

In January 2001, Maryland led Duke by 10 points, 90-80, with about a minute to play, only to lose the lead, lose their composure, and eventually lose the game in overtime 98-96.

The game will forever live in College Park folklore, and former Duke star Shane Battier acknowledged that the intensity of those Duke-Maryland games from that era were the most intense he ever faced in college. 

Maryland also won some monumental games over Duke.

One of the best wins came when the Lady Terps delivered a victory over Duke in the 2006 national title game. Duke was a heavy favorite in the game, but coach Brenda Frese and star freshman Kristi Toliver brought home the title in a 78-75 overtime win.

All ACC Rivalries -- For a period of time, no rivalry played like Duke against Maryland. But for the almost 60 years Maryland competed in the ACC, every game was intense. Every rivalry mattered, especially in the pre-expansion days when all teams in the conference played a home-and-home round robin basketball schedule.

Maryland knew it would play NC State, North Carolina and Virginia twice every year. The crowds at Cole Field House were some of the best in the country, and famous Terp coaches like Lefty Driesell and Gary Williams battled ACC legends like Dean Smith, Jim Valvano, Bobby Cremins, and later Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams. 

Tobacco Road -- Despite all the cries of "Carolina refs" heard from the Cole Field House crowd, there was a lore and excitement to visiting the famed programs along North Carolina’s “Tobacco Road.”

Duke, N.C. State, North Carolina and to a lesser-degree Wake Forest gave the Terps great competition, while Maryland coaches could use the Tobacco Road trips as a selling point to recruits. Nothing will replace playing in Cameron Indoor Stadium or the Dean Dome.

Geography -- Though for most of the ACC’s existence Maryland served as the northern-most team, many of the Terps' foes were within an easy car ride for fans to attend away games.

From College Park, Md., driving to Charlottesville, Va., would take about two hours, while a trip to Duke, N.C. State or North Carolina would take roughly four hours. Add another hour to get to Wake Forest.

In the Big Ten, the road trips will get much longer. 

Both Penn State and Rutgers are roughly four hours from College Park, but the next closest team plays 400 miles away in Columbus, Ohio. To arrive at Ohio State will require a seven-hour car ride, the next closest school is Michigan, a mere nine-hour trip.

Much will change as Maryland shifts to the Big Ten, but there is plenty to miss from the ACC. 

 

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