A Look At Maryland And Thursday Predictions

Feb 10, 2014; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard/forward Dez Wells (32) shoots the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena. - Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

No more than four days left in the ACC for Maryland basketball.

On Wednesday, Wake, Miami and Georgia Tech advanced to play, respectively, Pitt, State and Clemson.

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The other game, first up, will feature Maryland and Florida State.

Win lose or tornado, Maryland's basketball days in the ACC are down to four at the most.

One of the things to watch for this year is, assuming the Terps don't pull off a miracle run, just who ends it and how soon the ACC! ACC! ACC! taunt starts up.

Typically the crowd doesn't unite until Duke or UNC is in trouble. This time, though, we would expect a substantial and united reaction. Maryland's move to the Big Ten was handled in a pretty sleazy way, with violations of state law and a lack of candor to ACC partners, all of whom could have been significantly damaged.

The ACC recovered quickly with the addition of Louisville, and the quality of basketball - and basketball fans - will improve.

Louisville has been a strong program since at least the days of Wes Unseld. Denny Crum ran a great program for a long time and Rick Pitino breathed new life into it.

Additionally, Louisville fans are thoroughly devoted to their team, and Louisville is perhaps the best market in the country for college basketball.

A lot of that is naturally due to Kentucky fans who live in Louisville, but eyeballs are eyeballs.

Maryland by contrast has alternated between brilliance, mediocrity, mendacity and an unfortunate habit of blaming their woes on someone else. Duke is the preferred candidate, but as long as the Terp partisans can blame someone for something, they're usually happy.

Lefty Driesell probably started this. He came to Maryland boasting that it would become the "UCLA of the East," which was beyond brash.

When State blocked Maryland from the NCAA field in 1974, the NCAA actually changed the format of the tournament. It made sense in a lot of ways, not least of all that Maryland partisans whined and complained until they got their way.

Driesell also either started or amplified the traditional Maryland argument that the tournament was unfairly seated in North Carolina.

For much of the ACC's history, though, it was logical. Clemson, South Carolina and Virginia could get there in a relatively short bus ride. Maryland, being the farthest away, had the longest trip, and often felt victimized upon arrival.

Maryland won the tournament in 1958, in Reynolds Coliseum, on State's campus. South Carolina won in 1971 in Charlotte.

When the ACC acceded to Maryland's complaints in 1976...Virginia won.

Driesell won his one ACC Tournament in...Greensboro.

In 1985, Georgia Tech won in Atlanta, which probably didn't cheer Maryland folks up.

But the Yellow Jackets also won twice in Charlotte, beating Virginia in 1990 and UNC in 1993.

Gary Williams won his ACC Tournament in - wait for it - Greensboro in 2004.

But in 2005 the event moved back to DC where Duke won.

UNC won in St. Petersburg in 2007, Duke won in Atlanta in 2009, and Florida State won in Atlanta in 2012.

Last year, Miami went on the road and won in...Greensboro.

You can kind of understand the frustration though: in 1972, Lefty's team lost to UNC, 73-64. In 1973, a great Maryland team lost to State, 76-74, and in 1974, State won a classic rematch in overtime, 103-100.

In 1980, Duke won 73-72 and left Maryland fans thinking that Kenny Dennard undercut Buck Williams (Dennard has refuted this quite effectively).

In 1981, UNC beat Maryland in the Capital Centre, 61-60.

The difference though is that when Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski got beat, they didn't spend a lot of time complaining.

We'll be surprised if Maryland wins this year, but we won't be at all surprised if the Terps camp starts placing blame on the referees, or the conference office or, obviously, Duke.

On the contrary, we expect it. But it's just a few more days, and next season, Louisville will help drive ACC ratings even higher while Maryland goes from the Alaska of the ACC, in Gary William's famous phrase, to the Mississippi of the Big Ten.

At least Alaska has oil.

So who wins here? Tough call, but 9/8 means there's not much difference. It could easily go either way.

We like State over Miami largely because Tony Warren has been on an amazing tear. There have been games where Miami barely topped his 41 against Pitt or his 42 against BC.

Georgia Tech is playing pretty well but Clemson is a better team, we think, so we'll take the Tigers here.

Wake and Pitt is more interesting than it would have been. Tough call here, but we'll go with Pitt.

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