Lefty Driesell

Barring an unexpected run through the ACC Tournament, the Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team will miss the NCAA’s for the third-straight season.

My expectations for this team were pretty lofty. Not Final Four lofty, mind you, but I thought they were definitely worthy of an NCAA berth.

Unfortunately, it looks as though that will not be the case.

Even if the Terps manage to defeat Wake Forest in the first-round of the ACC tournament on Thursday night, Duke looms on Friday.

The Blue Devils, who lost in College Park earlier this season, will want revenge and they will get it in a big way.

However, instead of taking a negative approach to Maryland hoops, I decided to harken back to happier times. Happier times that include beating the Duke Blue Devils.

On March 11th, 1984, the Maryland Terrapins won the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina. Who did they beat to win the ACC Title?

The Duke Blue Devils.

Maryland’s coach at the time was Lefty Driesell. Lefty was a Duke grad and had come up short many times in his quest to win the ACC Tournament. He always said that when he finally won it, he would place the trophy on the hood of his car and drive around North Carolina so all could see.

In March of 1984, led by Len Bias, Lefty finally got his new hood ornament.

That season’s Maryland team was ranked in the Top 10 preseason. After a mid-year slump, the Terps hit their stride in late February.

Led by Bias, Keith Gatlin and future NBA players Adrian Branch and Ben Coleman, Lefty’s squad was ready for battle in Greensboro.

Expectations were for Maryland to play Michael Jordan and the top-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in the tournament finals.

But the Heels were upset by Johnny Dawkins and Duke in the semi-finals.

Maryland and Duke had split during the regular season with each team winning on the road.

Dawkins, Mark Alarie and Jay Blias were all standouts on Mike Krzyzewski’s first strong team.

Duke led at halftime of the game, but Bias and company would not be denied as they rolled the Blue Devils in the second half and won, 74-62.

Bias was named ACC Tournament MVP and Lefty finally got to cut down the nets.

The game was played on a Sunday afternoon and was I scheduled to be at work in Little Italy by 2pm. Needless to say, I was late.

Screw work. The Terps are in the ACC Finals.

Maryland would eventually face disaster in the NCAA’s as they blew a nine-point lead to Illinois and lost in the Sweet 16, 72-70.

That’s a story for another day.

But 29 years ago, the Maryland Terrapins were kings of the ACC court.

Something I will never forget.


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