On Tuesday night at The Smith Center, the Maryland Terrapins and North Carolina Tar Heels will play in an important men’s college basketball matchup. With Maryland is moving to the Big Ten and no game scheduled for College Park, this will be the final regular season contest between the two schools as ACC foes.
It’s hard to believe. A rivalry that I have witnessed since the mid-70’s is coming to an end.
As far as wins and losses are concerned, North Carolina has dominated this series to the tune of 121-57. However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t seen some memorable games between the two.
In 1979, UNC forward Al Wood, playing with stitches in his shooting hand, drained a jumper with two seconds left to break Maryland’s hearts 54-53. In that year’s ACC Tournament, I was feeling confident that the Terps were ready to roll the Heels in the semi-finals. I was extremely unhappy when it was North Carolina who rolled, 102-79.
My favorite Maryland victory happened on Super Bowl Sunday 1980 when Albert King lifted the Terps to a 92-86 triumph at Carmichael Auditorium.
In 1983 at Carmichael, Maryland had the ball trailing 72-71 to the defending National Champion Heels in closing seconds. For whatever reason, UM coach Lefty Driesell ran a play for his bench-riding son Chuck. Chuck appeared to have an open path for the game-winning hoop until some guy named Michael Jordan blocked the shot at the buzzer.
One of my Len Bias memories is from the 1985 game played, once again, at Carmichael. Maryland’s Adrian Branch put up a jumper that was deflected and was going to fall short of the hoop. Bias came out of nowhere to catch the ball in midair and slam it through the hoop. To this day, it’s still one of the more amazing plays I have seen.
Perhaps Maryland’s most famous win over North Carolina took place in 1986 when Bias played brilliantly in leading the Terps to a 77-72 upset over the top-ranked Heels at the Dean Dome. Unfortunately, I missed that one because I was at The Patterson movies watching Delta Force starring Chuck Norris.
Of course, there have been other heated battles in the years since.
Maybe Mark Turgeon’s Terps can add another chapter to the legacy on Tuesday night.
Goodbye North Carolina. I’ve always hated you but, I’m sure going to miss you.