In a sense, you have to hand it to Maryland. For years, Duke has been the Magnificent Obsession, the blue whale if you will.
As ACC play draws to a close, Maryland is clearly pining for Duke, longing to continue what they regard as their main rivalry.
Stung at not playing Duke at home in their final ACC season, the Maryland community (and the local media) tried desperately to create an Orange surrogate.
But Syracuse played the part of Duke too well and denied Maryland a remarkable win, because Maryland came back from 12 down and nearly pulled off an impressive win.
Didn't happen, of course, and Mark Turgeon thinks he knows why: "I thought Nick got fouled [on his last shot]. I think the replay showed that. But it’s been that kind of year for us."
But Jim Boeheim, according to the Baltimore Sun, wasn't having it:
"Well, first of all, let me just tell you this. [Maryland] shot 27 free throws. If anybody’s going to complain about the officiating, I’m going to complain. And I think I did enough of that Saturday. I don’t think I have to repeat that again.. If they didn’t turn it over 18 times, they wouldn’t have had to worry about that. Don’t complain about that call. Are you kidding me?"
You know, it's really a shame that these teams will only play once. Given Boeheim's natural tendency to shoot from the lip and Maryland's natural tendency to shoot small projectiles at opponents, it's pretty clear that things would get intense and ugly after just a handful of games.
Are you kidding, Boeheim? The man's a national treasure. He's like a more snarly version of Steve Spurrier, who delivers his comments with a laugh and a smile. Boeheim just puts it in your face, good or bad, and Maryland's not used to getting it back.
Incidentally, he has a point about free throws: Syracuse got six to Maryland's 27. The Terps missed eight and lost 18 possessions.
At some point, Boeheim will realize that one difference between the Big East and the ACC is that coaches are held to a (slightly) higher standard of conduct. The ACC declined to discipline him after his bizarre eruption at Duke, but it won't tolerate it indefinitely.
Still, it's kind of refreshing to see him go into Maryland and just push the traditional whininess right back in the collective Terrapin kisser.
With the loss, Maryland falls to 15-13 overall and 7-8 in the ACC.
On Tuesday, Clemson gets a chance to bolster its NCAA case as the Tigers visit Wake Forest. Last year, the Deacs had a real home court advantage, but lately, it's eroded.
Wake hasn't won in nearly a month and the Deacs are now just over .500. Joel was nearly 1/3 empty for the last home game, against Florida State.
Wake's season will be over soon and Ron Wellman will be forced to face last year's question again: keep or fire Jeff Bzdelik?
If he keeps him again, it could be damaging to Wake Forest for years to come. Really, barring a miracle run to the ACC title, he has little choice anymore. His job isn't far from being on the line as well.