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YouTube Gold: The 1981 ACC Championship

Vintage ACC!

Virginia Tech v North Carolina
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 15: (L-R) Former North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Dean Smith and former Maryland Terrapins head coach Lefty Driesell attend a halftime ceremony honoring ACC legends at the Virginia Tech Hokies and Tar Heels game at the 2008 Men’s ACC Basketball Tournament at Bobcats Arena on March 15, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Lefty Driesell era at Maryland seems long ago and far away. We talked about the Ernie Graham game the other day but Graham never really reached his potential.

A teammate of his certainly reached his though: Buck Williams.

A native of Rocky Mount, which a few years earlier had sent Phil Ford to UNC, Williams was just 6-8 but he was ferocious and relentless.

In the 1981 ACC Tournament, he more than held his own against Virginia’s 7-4 Ralph Sampson and helped Maryland to advance to the Finals against UNC (the Terps beat Duke in the first round, thus avenging the 1980 loss to the Blue Devils which Maryland fans found controversial...Duke fans not so much. It was also Coach K’s first ACC game).

This tournament was also in DC in the Capital Center, just the second time it was held outside of North Carolina.

This was largely at the behest of Driesell and then-Virginia coach Terry Holland. It worked out well the first time it happened: Virginia won the 1976 tournament, its first.

Despite a great effort from Williams, it didn't work out as well for the Terps as UNC held on for a 61-60 win.

Also on the court: James Worthy, Sam Perkins and Albert King. Not to mention Graham.

Moral: it’s not where you play, it’s how.