Maryland. Duke. The GameThread.

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I'm usually the eeyorish voice of pessimism reason, but not today. I'm oddly excited for this one, way more than I probably should be given what Maryland's looked like over the past few weeks. But I don't know. Between eking out a win over BC, the lineup finally settling into place a little bit, and Duke getting ridiculously exposed by a Miami team that's basically an older version of Maryland (great size, mediocre offense, built on a grinding pace and great defense) has me flying high. Do I think Maryland will win? Uh, no, probably not. But a week ago I was dreading this. Now? Bring 'em on.

Especially because I'm wondering if this isn't Alex Len's second big breakout game on national TV. He showed up against Kentucky on ESPN and, to a lesser extent, against Richard Howell on ESPN2. This one's on CBS and, quoth Bomani Jones:

Mason Plumlee's on the Shelden Williams tour this year, playing dudes into the first round.

Len's already there, of course, but the principle holds.

Pete's preview is here. Tip is at 1:00 on CBS, with Ian Eagle and Clark Kellogg on the call. Victory.

Random, Baseless Prediction: Amile Jefferson gets embarrassed by Dez Wells on the fast break at least once.

Prediction: I have a (probably ill-placed) sense of optimism that Maryland will give the Dukies a run here, including a lead at some point in the first half. But I'm just not buying Maryland as able to execute at a high-enough level to knock off a top-five team on the road, with one of those trademark second-half breakdowns giving Duke the lead and K's guys never looking back. Duke 71, Terps 60, but it's much closer than that score.

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