Maryland’s Last ACC Tournament Ends With a WhimperPosted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on March 13th, 2014
ACC Microsite writers Matt Patton and Brad Jenkins will be reporting live from Greensboro at the 2014 ACC Tournament throughout the week.
I’m going to miss Maryland, especially the rivalries with UNC and Duke. I think it’s a good move for them, the ACC is about to get too tough for them in basketball and football.” – Longtime North Carolina fan and ACC Tournament attendee Kevin Armwood.
And so it is over. After 61 years in the league, Maryland has played its final ACC Tournament game. The end came suddenly on a Boris Bojanovsky dunk with less than a second to play, lifting ninth-seeded Florida State over the eighth-seeded Terrapins on Thursday afternoon, 67-65. Maryland put up a game effort, coming back from an 11-point second half deficit to tie the game at 63 with under two minutes to play. But just like so many times during this season, the Terrapins once again couldn’t close the deal. The end came so swiftly that the rest of the ACC fans in the building didn’t have a chance to taunt the Maryland group on their way out of the building (and the conference).
Certainly Terrapins fans have some mixed emotions regarding the school’s move to the Big Ten next year. There has always been the feeling among Maryland faithful that the ACC Tournament was an uphill battle for their school, particularly when it was held in the state of North Carolina (as it always seemed to be). So it’s fitting that Maryland’s last go-round in the grand-daddy of conference tourneys took place in Greensboro. After today’s loss, Maryland finishes its ACC tenure with a slightly lower winning percentage in ACC Tournament play (45.2%) than in its ACC regular season games (50.7%). Perhaps ironically, or perhaps just an artifact of sample size, the Terrapins have a better all-time tournament record in Greensboro (26-23) than in the four seasons when the event took place in the Washington, D.C., area (3-4). All three of Maryland’s ACC Championships were won in the Tar Heel State, with two of those net-cutting ceremonies taking place in Greensboro, the last in 2004 when Gary Williams led the Terps past arch-nemesis Duke. Of course, the most famous Maryland ACC Tournament moment came in the 1974 championship game overtime loss to N.C. State that kept the Terrapins out of the NCAA Tournament despite ranking in the top five of the polls all season long.
So now that Maryland is officially done with the ACC, everyone can and will finally move on. Of course, there will be more of an adjustment for the Terrapins’ program than it will for the league it leaves behind. The new ACC will be just fine adding powerhouse Louisville in place of them, but how long will it take for the Terps to get established in their new league? We will leave it to history to judge whether the financially-driven move to the Big Ten will ultimately be worth all the great tradition that Maryland is leaving behind.
Here are some additional quotes from fans, players and coaches regarding the close of Maryland’s time in the ACC.
- “For the ACC, it was a great ride. We appreciate everything the ACC has done for us, but I guess [it's] new beginnings now for us.” – Maryland junior Dez Wells.
- “We knew what the ACC meant to our fans, and we just weren’t good enough to get the win today. We’re going to miss it. It’s a great league, great coaches. We’re going to miss Greensboro. It was a great tournament, well run. But the good thing is we’re going to another great league, great coaches, great tournament.” – Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon.
- “Maryland has meant a lot to the legacy of the ACC. But they’re moving on, and we’re going to wish them well.” – Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton.
- “Maybe they went to the interview room in Indianapolis.” – A veteran ACC writer, joking when Maryland’s coach and players were late arriving to the postgame press conference. [Indianapolis is site of the Big Ten Tournament].