"I think it was one of the most intense [rivalries], particularly when Gary was there because Gary is a competitive, intense guy and so is Michael," said North Carolina coach Roy Williams. "So I think it was driven maybe more by the coaches than just the names on the front of the jerseys."
If Maryland fans seemed more invested than their Duke counterparts, that may have been because the Terps have no other prominent rival.
"The closest thing in the ACC was Virginia, but that was never much [of a rivalry]," said Charles T. Clotfelter, a professor at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy who previously taught at Maryland.
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These days, the games may not carry quite as much weight in Durham. But that wasn't the case in the early years of this century.
"When Gary got the place going, they were the only team in the league that I could remember that they really fought back," said Jay Bilas, an ESPN analyst who starred for Duke in the 1980s. "They were going to take a swing at [Duke]. That's when it got to be a great rivalry. ...
"You go into a game and it's not just 'We want to win.' It's 'We want to kick your [butt].' That was part of the motivation. ... It was a crowd thing, but the players wanted it. You could feel it. The Duke players knew it was a rivalry, too. It wasn't a one-way thing."
Along the way, the series developed its own lexicon. There was the "Duke Crying Kid," a little boy in a Blue Devils jersey whose woeful expression was captured on television during Maryland's overtime win in the 2004 ACC championship game and circulated by Terps fans. There were the "Scheyer Faces" — oversized photos of former Duke guard Jon Scheyer in contorted expressions that were waved by Maryland students.
For a time, the series came to be known partly for Maryland fans swarming onto U.S. 1 and clashing with police after Terps victories. The school made a number of moves — including sponsoring a closely monitored bonfire in 2011 — to halt those displays.
If the series' intensity has waned, that's because Duke had won 12 of 13 meetings until the Terps won twice last season — perhaps the biggest wins since Turgeon arrived at the school in 2011. Krzyzewski, who once won 15 straight against Maryland ending in 1994, is 54-23 against the Terps in his career.
Even if Maryland remained in the expanded ACC, the Terps no longer would have met the Blue Devils twice every season. Saturday's game is the only regular-season meeting this year.
"I think you have to play a team twice a year for it to be a rival." Gary Williams said.
It's uncertain when the Terps and Blue Devils will meet again. They could meet in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge or a preseason or postseason tournament, but Krzyzewski has indicated no interest in scheduling Maryland.
"If [Duke-Maryland] was such a rivalry, they'd still be in the ACC," he told reporters after the second meeting last season.
Among those mourning the rivalry's end is Vasquez, who was one rebound short of a triple-double in his first game at Duke, a Maryland win in 2007.
Throughout his career, Vasquez — now with the Toronto Raptors — had a love-hate relationship with the Cameron Crazies. The fans would yell, "Hola, Greivis" and banter with him in Spanish about his home country of Venezuela.
"It wasn't really trash [talk]. It was fun, because they did their homework," Vasquez recalled this week. "It wasn't 'Vasquez, you [stink],' or 'You can't dribble to your left.' They'd come out with something political out of nowhere. You've got to give them credit."
Vasquez called Duke his "archrival" but he and Krzyzewski shared mutual respect.
"He told me once how much he appreciated my effort in the ACC. I told him how great I think he is," Vasquez said. "You go to Maryland because you want to play against Duke and North Carolina and teams like that," Vasquez said. "It's unreal that it's going to be the last game as of right now."
Baltimore Sun reporter Don Markus contributed to this article.