Where: Comcast Center, College Park, MD
Where to Watch: ESPN (Shulman and Bilas) should have you covered nationally; not yet sure about online streams
Line: Vegas: Duke -3 KenPom: Duke by 1 (51%)
- One more chance. This is it. If Maryland doesn't get their marquee win here, they'll need to get it in the ACC Tournament, and that might require winning the whole thing. A win here would be huge for their NCAA Tournament hopes; it might not be a necessity, but it would be quite the boost.
- Gary goes for the Wooden tie. Gary currently has one less win than John Wooden. He can get the tie tonight.
- Two in a row? Maryland has a way of messing with Duke. They were the last team to beat them before they had that long stretch of victories that ended at Florida State in January. If they win tonight, this will be the first two-game losing streak for Duke since 2008. They have a way of avoiding those things.
- Um...it's Duke. 'Nuff said.
- Injuries: Nothing unknown here. Duke is Kyrie Irving-less, Maryland is missing Pankey.
- Pressure. St. John's press stymied Duke last time out, and Florida State's athleticism on defense gave them fits, too. Don't be surprised to see Maryland going with a well-timed press and using tight pressure on the ball. Don't be surprised if it works, either.
- Feed Jordan Williams (and keep him out of foul trouble). This is the same as last time: Maryland's biggest strength is in the post, which just happens to be Duke's biggest weakness. It doesn't take a genius to know that Maryland can and should exploit it, but they have a tendency to get away from doing it at times. That has to be the biggest priority, even if Duke goes zone; Maryland doesn't have the perimeter scoring to counter it.
- Keep the crowd in it and start hot. First off, Duke's a terrible road team, just 2-2 in true road games. That's where the Comcast Center crowd comes in. Second, by their standards, Duke's reeling: they're 4-2 in their last 6 games, including an utter blowout the last time they played. Giving them a quick confidence right off the bat, ala the Virginia Tech game, isn't a great plan. They won't quit, but giving them their mojo back right away is a recipe for trouble.
|Terrell Stoglin (Fr., 6-0)
|Nolan Smith (Sr., 6-2)
|Adrian Bowie (Sr., 6-2)
|Seth Curry (So., 6-2)
|Sean Mosley (Jr., 6-5)
|Kyle Singler (Sr., 6-8)
|Dino Gregory (Sr., 6-7)
|Ryan Kelly (So., 6-11)
|Jordan Williams (So., 6-10)
|Mason Plumlee (So., 6-10)
Andre Dawkins (So., 6-4) may start in Curry's place, but I'm going with Curry for the moment because he started the last time out. I imagine Bowie will switch over on Smith, but other than that it's a pretty straightfoward matchup. The only real concern is Kelly shooting over Gregory, but I'm not too worried about that. Kelly is more of a role player and Dino has enough of a vert to make up for the height difference.
Gotta say, the Four Factors don't look promising. Duke has a big advantage in eFG% and TO%, while Maryland holds only slight advantages in rebounding and FT rate. That's why you don't play games on paper, I guess.
Prediction: I go back and forth on it. Maryland played so well last time and they seem to be getting on a roll, while Duke is struggling in comparison and has been exposed. Maryland nearly beat them last time out, and now they're at home, where things should be easier. But at the same time, this seems like the perfect time for Duke to get their ish together and come out with a barnstorming performance to silence the doubters after St. John's. They're still crazy talented on the perimeter and can beat anyone if they get hot enough from deep. Part of me says Duke by 3. But I don't like that part. Maryland wins in a close one.