When the ACC moved its tournament out of North Carolina and into the Capital Centre in Landover for the first time in 1976, Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell was feeling confident about his team's chances.
The Terrapins were playing in their home state and had college basketball's best back court in all-American John Lucas, Mo Howard and Brad Davis. But No. 6 seed Virginia, which went 15-11 and 4-8 in the ACC during the regular season, pulled one of the biggest surprises in ACC tournament history.
"Wonderful" Wally Walker, left, led Virginia to a "Miracle in Landover" in 1976.
(University Of Virginia Photo)
The Cavaliers upset three nationally ranked teams in as many days, beating No. 17 North Carolina State, 75-63, in the first round; No. 9 Maryland, 73-65, in the semifinals; and No. 4 North Carolina, 67-62, in the championship game.
The Cavaliers were 0-6 against those teams during the regular season. Senior forward "Wonderful" Wally Walker, who had been left off the all-ACC team on the eve of the tournament, scored 73 points in three games on 28-for-41 shooting and was named the tournament's most valuable player. It was the Cavaliers' first and only ACC tournament championship and is still referred to as the "Miracle in Landover" by Virginia basketball fans.