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Report: Virginia and Maryland to play in the 2018 ACC–Big Ten Challenge

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The old Route 29 foes are at it again.

Chris Williams #33
Because there are shockingly few pictures of UVA/UMD basketball in our subscription database. RIP Big Smooth.

The Virginia Cavaliers will take on their old rivals, the Maryland Terrapins, in the 2018 ACC–Big Ten Challenge. The news was first reported by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, citing a source.

Perhaps UVA’s most bitter rival at one time, Maryland has a 107-75 advantage in a series that began in 1913 and ran on a near-annual basis from 1924–2014 until the Terrapins left for the Big Ten. The Hoos are 25-61 in the notoriously hostile confines of College Park and 6-7 in what is now known as the Xfinity Center.

Under head coach Tony Bennett, UVA is 8-5 against Maryland with a 4-3 road record. The Cavaliers set a program record with six wins in a row against the Terps from 2011-14, and won the other Challenge meeting between the two schools in 2014 – a 76-65 road triumph.

The Hoos have won four straight in the ACC–Big Ten Challenge, coming off of a low scoring 49-37 affair against Wisconsin last season in Charlottesville. Virginia hasn’t faced a team that isn’t Wisconsin, Maryland, or Ohio State since the 2011 Challenge when they played Michigan. UVA is 12-6 all-time in the Challenge.

Maryland will be aided by Bruno Fernando (10.3 points, 6.5 rebounds per game) at their disposal after he withdrew from NBA Draft consideration. Their 6’7 guard Kevin Huerter is staying in the draft, meaning Mark Turgeon will need to replace their second leading scorer (14.8 points per game). Joining Fernando in the frontcourt will be five-star center prospect Jalen Smith out of Baltimore.

The Terrapins missed out on both the NCAA tournament and the NIT last season after a disappointing 19-13 overall record (8-10 Big Ten). Maryland hasn’t won a Challenge game since moving to the Big Ten back in 2014.

The more conspiracy-minded among us could look at this matchup and assume a tie-in to what happened in March – UVA’s stunning loss to 16th-seeded UMBC (aka Maryland–Baltimore County) in the first round of the NCAA tournament. As the Old Line State’s flagship college, Maryland fans will no doubt put to good use their best torments at the Hoos’ expense.

Some of the most classic games, for better and worse, in UVA history have been against UMD. They include:

  • Ralph Sampson’s final home game in 1983, where he hit a game-winning floater with seconds to go at University Hall
  • The last game at Cole Field House in 2002, a 112-92 Terrapins win
  • An 80-78 overtime upset in Charlottesville over the defending national champion Terps in 2003
  • The last game at U-Hall in 2006, a heartbreaking 71-70 UVA loss
  • And a 2013 overtime thriller at John Paul Jones Arena that saw the Cavs win 61-58 and keep alive their NCAA tournaments hopes that would be dashed the following week

The ACC dominated the Challenge last season, winning 11-3. Over the 19 year history of the event, the ACC leads 12-5-2 all time. Other matchups in the 2018 Challenge include (according to Rothstein):

  • Nebraska at Clemson
  • Minnesota at Boston College
  • Syracuse at Ohio State
  • Indiana at Duke
  • North Carolina at Michigan
  • Virginia Tech at Penn State
  • Pitt at Iowa
  • Georgia Tech at Northwestern
  • Michigan State at Louisville
  • Purdue at Florida State
  • Rutgers at Miami
  • Illinois at Notre Dame
  • NC State at Wisconsin