North Carolina coach Roy Williams says he "hates to see" Maryland departing the Atlantic Coast Conference. The teams have played 178 times since 1924, but with the Terps headed to the Big Ten after this season, Tuesday night's game at the Smith Center will be the final regular season ACC game in the series.
"I still think of Maryland as an ACC school and I'll always think that way," Williams said Monday during the ACC coaches' teleconference. "I hate to see them leaving, but their administration made a decision that they think is best for their school."
Williams’ tone was more charitable than that of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski last season. "If [Duke-Maryland] was such a rivalry, they'd still be in the ACC," Krzyzewski told reporters after the second Terps-Blue Devils game in College Park last season.
Maryland plays at Duke on Feb. 15, and Coach K doubtlessly will be asked about the end of the rivalry again. When Maryland played at Duke last season, fans chanted "ACC" and held signs reading "Good Riddance" with a Maryland logo displayed.
It should be noted that Williams is a mentor of Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. “Mark Turgeon was a guy I trusted a great deal,” Williams said Monday. “I hired him [as an assistant] when I first got to Kansas.”
Turgeon, in his third season, is clearly a fan of the ACC. The Sun reported in November that he had initially opposed the move to the Big Ten, but is on board now.
“It’s been a great game over the years,” Turgeon said Monday of Maryland-North Carolina. “North Carolina is one of the premier programs, obviously, in the country. It’s a chapter that’s going to end. Coming off the Duke-Syracuse game the other night, there’s new rivalries that can be born. So we’re going to lose a great rivalry here with North Carolina but I’m sure we’re going to have a few good ones in the future.”
North Carolina leads the Maryland series, 121-57, including 57-16 at home. The Tar Heels (14-7, 4-4 ACC) won both regular season games against Maryland (13-9, 5-4 ACC) last season.
Maryland point guard Seth Allen said Monday that North Carolina offered the toughest environment in which to play last season.
“North Carolina, without question, because it’s louder than Duke,” Allen said. “Duke is small —they’ve got the [Cameron] Crazies over there sticking their hands out. But North Carolina is just really loud."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun