Today’s matchup between Clemson and Maryland at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson might be a part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but it has more of an old ACC feel to it.
From 1953-2014, Maryland competed in the ACC. The Terrapins were one of the original seven charter members of the ACC that started the conference along with Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina and Wake Forest in the fall of 1953.
Clemson and Maryland played every year on the basketball court until the Terrapins up and left the conference after the 2013-’14 season to join the Big Ten for what they felt was a better financial situation.
Now the two longtime ACC foes will renew their rivalry this afternoon at Littlejohn.
“I think it is kind of neat. I wish they were still in the league,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “I think back to them and all of their history and I am sure there are a lot of great memories those teams had, having gone to their place a couple of times now since I have been at Clemson and obviously, we talked about having a great game with them here. I think the last time we played them was a double-overtime win for us.”
Brownell is correct. Clemson beat the Terps 77-73 in their last meeting, which was played at Littlejohn in 2014. It happens to be the only time Brownell beat Maryland in his five meetings against them.
“So, I think that is pretty cool. But things change and it has been interesting to watch them play in the Big Ten, having grown up in the Big Ten and having followed that league. It does not seem like it fits,” Brownell said. “I am sure if you ask Mark (Turgeon) now that they have been in it several years that it feels a little more normal for them. But, yeah, it is exciting to have them back down here at Littlejohn.”
Maryland has opened the 2020-’21 season by winning each of its first four games, while the Tigers are undefeated as well at 3-0. The Tigers already own a win over a Big Ten team this year, when they knocked off Purdue on Nov. 26 at the Space Coast Challenge in Melbourne, Fla. However, Maryland will be a different challenge.
“They are a very sound and very efficient,” Brownell said.
The Terps are big and long, and they will present matchup issues for Clemson, especially at the guard spots.
“I am very impressed with their guard play,” Brownell said. “They are big guards who can all dribble, pass and shoot. They have multiple guys that have 15, 14, 13 assists in four games. So, they have four guys that are averaging three or four assists a game. They have a bunch of guys that handle the ball.
“They have high IQs, high skill. I am just really impressed with the way they do things. Mark is a really good coach. They are set up well. You can tell they are a team that has won. Their guys are used to winning. They play with confidence. They have experience. They have been through a lot of different things. We will have to play really well to win.”
Tipoff for today’s game is set for 5 p.m., and will be televised on ESPN2.
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