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One of the trips I've been looking forward to since coming back on the Maryland beat is a trip to Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. It has nothing to do with the game itself, since I doubt tonight's matchup between the Terps and Demon Deacons will live up to others I've covered, especially those involving two relatively unknown freshmen named Joe Smith and Tim Duncan.

It's because of the Freakin' Deacons.

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I've admired them from afar since their inception 10 years ago. Something about the tie-dye shirts and headbands appeal to the hippie in me. The Cameron Crazies were original about 20 years ago, but they've now resorted to parroting the chants that somebody writes down on a blackboard.

I know the Freakin' Deacons have inspired nearly every student body in the country with their theme song. It's played at just about every arena to get the students stirred up. I even heard it played at an American University women's game with about 12 fans at Bender Arena. I hope they live up to my expectations tonight.

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But here's a question: which school has the toughest fans in the ACC?

1. Wake Forest -- The Demon Deacons have lost only once this year at home, in part because of the Freakin' Deacons.

2. Virginia Tech -- Cassell Coliseum is one of those old-school gyms that because of size and acoustics makes it tough for the opposing team to hear.

3. Duke -- Despite a lack of originality and an abundance of obnoxiousness, their proximity to the Coach K Court is not good for opponents with the slightest bit of claustrophobia.

4. Maryland -- Hate to say it, but the fans at Comcast Center are not as intense as they were a few years ago or as they were at Cole.

5. North Carolina -- Much improved from the early years at the Dean Dome when Sam Cassell called it a "cheese and wine crowd", but they still have a ways to go.

6. Georgia Tech -- They didn't come out in big numbers for Maryland's trip to Alexander Memorial Coliseum, but it still got pretty loud down the stretch when the game was close.

7. North Carolina State -- If Cameron has historically had the most creative chants, the Wolfpack faithful remain the most vulgar -- young and old.

8. Clemson -- There's something of a basketball mentality with Oliver Purnell, but it's not close to Death Valley during football season.

9. Miami -- I was surprised how vocal the 7,000 fans got on Saturday when the Terps lost down there, but they had little to do with Miami winning.

10. Florida State -- I'll never forget Pat Kennedy explaining to fans in Tallahassee the difference between basketball and football before a Maryland game. Hasn't changed a whole lot.

11. Boston College -- Unless it's a hockey game, the BC students don't come out. They certainly didn't for Gary Williams' 600th win.

That's my list, what's yours?

Explanation on Virginia

Just a note to those of you who thought I was dissing Virginia in this post.

I was missing Virginia. I meant to put in a disclaimer since I have not been to the new arena and it has been a long time since I have been to Charlottesville. I will give a new review after Maryland visits there March 9. Hopefully I will be allowed in. And out.

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