After making the move from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten Conference, Maryland was able to maintain just one rivalry with its former league, and the No. 5 Terps (5-1) will face No. 2 North Carolina (8-0) in the Pacific Coast Shootout in Santa Ana, Calif., on Saturday.
The former ACC adversaries will meet for the 64th time, which ranks as the sixth-longest series in Maryland history. While waiting to board an airplane at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport Tuesday afternoon, coach John Tillman said he and Tar Heels coach Joe Breschi worked to keep an open date on their schedules.
"We just kept the dialogue open, and they seemed really receptive," Tillman said. "I think Joe really liked the game and felt like it was a worthwhile game for him and helped his team get better. It has certainly helped us get better and competitive. Obviously for the last couple of years, they have won the games, so it's helped us in terms of trying to figure out how we can get better. They're obviously always well-coached and talented. They seemed to value the game a little bit more than some of the other teams."
The Terps have met Virginia 91 times, their second-longest series. They have played Duke 82 times, their fourth-longest rivalry. Asked if he was surprised that the Cavaliers and Blue Devils did not maintain their traditional games with Maryland, Tillman was diplomatic.
"I just think scheduling is a lot more complicated than people think," he said. "It gets tricky. You have to find weekends that work and work for everybody, and you've got traditional, local rivalries, you've got historical rivalries. And you're trying to make dates work, and you've got travel and budgets and things like that. Scheduling is really hard."
Tillman said North Carolina will visit College Park in 2016. There are no plans for Duke and Virginia to do the same, but Tillman said the Terps would be interested.
"That would be up to them," he said. "We certainly would entertain it if that was something they would be interested in. But that would be if they would be interested in that."