The Terps often have been pegged as the more vulgar of the two schools. And as we all know, Terp fans have, on occasion, taken the celebrations a little too far.
You’ve probably seen the tape by now of hoards of Maryland students crowding Route 1 after the Terps beat Duke 79-72 in the last home game of the season last year. During the riots that followed, Prince George’s County police arrested 28 students. And later a video surfaced showing officers in riot gear beating one student. That video has prompted a federal investigation and the suspension of three police officers.
But this year, student leaders are attempting to avoid the out-of-hand celebrations. The team has organized a pep rally to encourage students to show good sportsmanship and avoid the profanity that has become a staple of Terp heckling.
And after the game, the student government has organized a bon-fire to help channel all the spirit and post-game celebrations.
That is, if Maryland wins.
Tonight’s game is incredibly important for Maryland’s tournament hopes. So far they are winless against Top 25 opponents, and this could be their last chance of the season to make a mark against the nation’s elite.
Maryland’s win over Duke last year was the Blue Devils last before they went on to win the national championship. This year the Blue Devils are coming off an embarrassing 93-78 loss to St. John’s. That could have been a wake-up call for Duke. But it also could be the opening Maryland is looking for, and an opportunity to capitalize on a quality opponent.
After all, Maryland has regained its footing in the ACC with three straight conference wins. Center Jordan Williams has also returned to double-double form.
Meanwhile, some of Duke’s top performers have been slipping. Star freshman Kyrie Irving is out indefinitely with a toe injury and senior Kyle Singler has gone stone-cold from the three-point line, missing 25 of 34 shots from beyond the arc in the last five games.