COLLEGE PARK – If Maryland’s 83-81 upset over the second-ranked Duke Blue Devils was their last, then they both went out in style.
Maryland, a charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1953, is leaving for the B1G 10 in 2014, could not have scripted a better sendoff then beating their hated rivals from Durham.
While not on the level of the more storied Duke-UNC rivalry, Duke-Maryland has been one of the more bitter and hotly contested matchups in college basketball over the last 20 years.
The seeds of the Terps-Blue Devils rivalry would be sowed in the late 1990’s thanks to former alum, Gary Williams bringing Maryland from the depths of the ACC to the upper tier alongside co-patriarch Duke and North Carolina.
The rivalry would be cemented in 2000-01 when both teams would meet four times including during the ACC tournament and the Final Four.
Duke would go on to claim it’s third national title, but not before co-authoring one of the best rivalries in college hoops with Maryland.
While Duke has won eight of the last ten meetings in what has become a one-sided affair in leading the all-time series, 110-62, the rivalry and mutual respect between the two soon-to-be former foes has been forever planted.
While Duke fans tended to dismiss the “rivalry’ with Maryland, Terp fans saw it as their personal Super Bowl and Final Four wrapped into one.
Modern day players such as Jay Williams, Steve Francis, Juan Dixon, Chris Wilcox, J.J. Redick, Shane Battier and Elton Brand would make their names during the zenith of the series.
Lost in all the talk of conference re-alignment is the loss of great basketball rivalries such as Duke-Maryland, other great inter-conference clashes such as Georgetown-Syracuse will also be extinguished as the Orange will be leaving the Big east for the ACC.
If you’re a true college hoops fan, rivalries such as these are becoming a thing of the past thanks to this new era of conference-hopping.
In the case of this being the last time Duke and Maryland will ever been step on the hardwood as conference rivals, it is a bitter pill of reality to swallow and an unfortunate by-product of the present.
Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected] and follow the Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber