When and Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.; 4:00
Where to Watch: ESPN
Line: Vegas: Duke -15.5 KenPom: Duke by 10, 7% chance of Maryland victory
- Pe'Shon Howard. News came out last night that Howard has torn his ACL and won't play for the rest of the year. It's a big blow for Maryland, but not one they're foreign to: Howard, of course, missed the first nine games of the season with a broken foot. How will Maryland react? That's the million dollar question. Nearly as important, who runs point? Stoglin? Faust? I guess we won't have to wait long to find out.
- Round 2. Round 1 didn't go so well. Maryland led for much of the first half in the Gary Game, but fell off late in the half and couldn't recover in the second. Things will be that much harder in Durham, but the Terrapins weren't outclassed last time around and I don't expect them to be this time, either.
- Unis. Duke is wearing these. And people hate on Maryland's taste?
- On the second day of Stefonukkah? I don't know about you, but I'm still riding a Stefonukkah high. Who knows, maybe Maryland pulls off a Stefonukkah miracle.
The Opponent (An Overview): Duke enters today riding a huge high after a two-minute-ten-point comeback in Chapel Hill. Standing at 20-4, they seem to be their usual Duke selves. It's easy to forget, though, that just one week ago they lost to Miami in Coral Gables in overtime - remember, the Terrapins took the Canes to 2OTs and very nearly grabbed that win. Consistency has proven to be a problem of sorts for the Blue Devils. Same as last time, they have really strong play 2-5, but do lack a true point guard. They're still a great offensive unit, but there have been defensive question marks all year, especially in defending the interior and forcing turnovers. They're #2 in RPI, #14 in KenPom, and #10 in Sagarin. They're very fast-paced and rely heavily on the three-pointer, and yes, I know I just described every Duke team of the past decade.
Expected Starting Fives:
|Terrell Stoglin (So., 6-0)||Tyler Thornton (So., 6-1)|
|Nick Faust (Fr., 6-6)||Seth Curry (Jr., 6-2)|
|Sean Mosley (Sr., 6-4)||Austin Rivers (Fr., 6-4)|
|James Padgett (Jr., 6-8)||Ryan Kelly (Jr., 6-11)|
|Ashton Pankey (Fr., 6-9)||Mason Plumlee (So., 6-10)|
I had Alex Len starting last time, and that didn't work out, so I'm guessing Turgeon is locked into Pankey at the 5 for the time being. Len will likely garner more minutes, though, which I'll explain later. Anyway, the other big question is who runs point. I'm assuming Stoglin and Faust will share the responsibility, but get ready to see more Jonathan Thomas in reserve. Duke will bring Quinn Cook, Andre Dawkins, and Miles Plumlee off the bench; Maryland will bring Mychal Parker, Len, and Berend Weijs. Yeahhh. Good news is that Stoglin can probably guard Tyler Thornton and be fine.
Hey, Maryland can rebound and get to the free throw line as well as any team in the country. If they hit their free throws, they still might be able to make a game out of this.
Matchup to Watch: It's easy, isn't it? Alex Len vs. Mason Plumlee. Last time out, Maryland absolutely refused to double-down on Plumlee, instead making sure Duke's snipers wouldn't get open looks. That only kinda-sorta worked: three-pointing shooting was basically a non-factor, but Plumlee killed whoever Maryland threw at him. Len only played 12 minutes, though, and would obviously prove to be a more difficult matchup than, say, Ashton Pankey, based solely on height. If Len can match Plumlee and Maryland keeps the same strategy on not giving up open shots at all costs, things could get interesting.
Prediction: It's tough to tell whether the loss of Howard will kill Maryland's confidence or rally them - things like that can have funny effects, sometimes. I don't think Maryland will get run out of the gym because, first of all, they aren't that much worse than Duke and secondly, their mentality will probably prevent that as well. But Duke very well could cover. I'm guessing Maryland keeps it close for the first 30 minutes or so, but Duke proves to have too much and too much depth, stretching out the lead late.