Where + When: 6:00 tip at Comcast Center, College Park, Md.
Where to Watch: ESPN
Lines: Vegas: KenPom: Duke by 7
Last Time Around? Maryland is unlikely to get a home contest against Duke from the ACC next year, and Coach K has made it clear he will never schedule a road game against the Terps, so this very well could be the last time Duke visits College Park, barring any ACC-Big Ten Challenge shenanigans. In games between the two taking place in Maryland, the Blue Devils hold a slender 40-37 lead.
Pe'Shon's suspension. It was announced yesterday that Pe'Shon Howard will be suspended for between one and three games, and will not be sitting on the bench against Duke. Howard has not been playing well as of late, and has been a pretty large contributor to Maryland's turnover problem, but his experience could have come in handy - James Padgett and Logan Aronhalt are now the only upperclassmen who will play.
Starting lineup. Turgeon also announced that the starting lineup will include three freshmen and two sophomores, which means no Padgett. The candidates? For the sophomores, it's Alex Len, Dez Wells and Nick Faust. For the freshmen - Shaquille Cleare, Seth Allen, Charles Mitchell and Jake Layman. Len and Wells are locks, which means Faust will likely come off the bench. Turgeon said Allen and Faust will take over point duties for Howard, so that means Seth is likely in as well. Unless they decide to go really big, that means Layman will be playing the three. So really, the only decision up for grabs appears to be between Cleare and Mitchell. You'll see our guess in a few.
Tournament hopes. Maryland's chances at a March Madness bid are dwindling quickly - after a home loss to Virginia, the Terps are under .500 in conference play. After the Duke game, Maryland has a relatively easy time of it, playing four of the bottom five teams in the conference, but the Terps need a second marquee win, and badly.
The Opponent (An Overview)
So what have our good friends at Duke been up to since the last time we checked in? Well, they've won five in a row since their 20-point home victory over Maryland, defeating Wake Forest, Florida State, North Carolina State, Boston College and North Carolina. Those last two victories were by a combined six points, but the two prior were by double digits.
Mason Plumlee was the team's leading scorer in four of those games, including two 30-point efforts. Seth Curry has also excelled, averaging 19.4 points per game in the stretch. The star of the game against the Terps, Rasheed Sulaimon, exceeded the ten-point mark three times in the stretch, but never scored more than 14.
Amile Jefferson has struggled in his new role as the starting power forward, and was even benched in favor of Tyler Hairston before the UNC game. Jefferson did play significantly more in the game than Hairston, however, so expect him to start against the Terrapins.
Anyway, Duke is good. We know this, you know this.
Expected Starting Fives
|Seth Allen (Fr., 6-1)||Quinn Cook (So., 6-1)|
|Dez Wells (So., 6-5)||Seth Curry (Sr., 6-2)|
|Jake Layman (Fr., 6-8)||Rasheed Sulaimon (Fr., 6-4)|
|Shaquille Cleare (Fr., 6-9)||Amile Jefferson (Fr., 6-8)|
|Alex Len (So., 7-1)||Mason Plumlee (Sr., 6-10)|
Matchup to Watch
Layman vs. Sulaimon. The Len/Plumlee and Wells/Curry match-ups do involve the teams' most talented players, but Sulaimon is the major reason that Duke was able to beat Maryland last time around. With Layman on him, maybe things will turn out differently.
Maryland 72, Duke 68. Forever known as the "Seth Allen Game", it is Maryland's defense that comes up big to give the Terps an historic victory.