Maryland will face Virginia (belatedly) tomorrow night at Comcast Center.
It will be the first time Tony Bennett, the Cavaliers' first-year coach, matches wits in a conference game with Gary Williams.
I got to thinking on the drive home that chances were good first-year coaches in the league haven't fared all that great against Williams in their first matchup over the years.
That would mainly be because:
1. Maryland has been good more often than not
2. Most new coaches take over struggling programs
Not rocket science, really.
But just for fun, I took the first game against Maryland of each of the 19 first-year coaches in the conference since 1990.
(Gary, by the way, went 2-4 in his first meeting with incumbent ACC coaches in 1990).
Excluded were Pat Kennedy (1992 Florida State), Seth Greenberg (2005 Virginia Tech) and Al Skinner (2006 Boston College) before the data was actually compiled. That's because each guy was already at his respective school when their programs entered the ACC. For those wondering if this is cherry-picking, Maryland went 2-1 in its first games against those programs when they were new to the ACC.
OK, the table's set. Let's see what comes of it:
1990: Maryland 88, Wake Forest 82 (Dave Odom)
1991: Virginia 76, Maryland 62 (Jeff Jones)
1991: Maryland 104, N.C. State 100 (Les Robinson)
1995: Maryland 56, Clemson 51 (Rick Barnes)
1997: Maryland 68, N.C. State 59 (Herb Sendek)
1998: Maryland 81, Florida State 74 (Steve Robinson)
1998: Maryland 89, North Carolina 83-OT (Bill Guthridge)
1999: Maryland 71, Virginia 66 (Pete Gillen)
1999: Maryland 81, Clemson 79-OT (Larry Shyatt)
2001: Maryland 93, Georgia Tech 80 (Paul Hewitt)
2001: North Carolina 86, Maryland 83 (Matt Doherty)
2002: Maryland 85, Wake Forest 63 (Skip Prosser)
2003: Maryland 89, Florida State 62 (Leonard Hamilton)
2004: Maryland 90, North Carolina 84 (Roy Williams)
2004: Maryland 65, Clemson 52 (Oliver Purnell)
2005: Miami 75, Maryland 73-OT (Frank Haith)
2006: Maryland 76, Virginia 65 (Dave Leitao)
2007: Maryland 85, N.C. State 70 (Sidney Lowe)
2008: Maryland 71, Wake Forest 64 (Dino Gaudio)
So that's a 16-3 record. Which is probably in the expected ballpark, but interesting nonetheless.