To talk about Maryland's next opponent, we sat down with David Aldridge (@davidmaldridge) of DukeReport.com to discuss Maryland's final trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium, and likely last matchup against the Blue Devils as a member of the ACC. You can check out my answers to his questions by clicking here.
TT: Duke and Maryland have been a pretty good rivalry over the years. The Washington Post just did a great documentary on it, specifically focusing on the 2000-2002 time period. What's the feeling in Durham about Maryland's move to the B1G?
DR: I think there are two lines of thinking on Maryland leaving for the Big Ten and it tends to depend on age. The older Duke fans are sad to see Maryland leave because they have a greater understanding of the history and tradition of the ACC and they recognize that the Terps were an important part of that tradition. Those Maryland teams of the 1970s were part of what helped the ACC become one of the most dominant conferences in the country.
Younger fans wouldn't care if the door hits Maryland on the way out. Honestly, they see Maryland as a program and fanbase that has an inferiority complex but can't pull its own weight. It also does the school no favors that Len Elmore is a Maryland grad!
TT: Duke is the third best team, according to Kempom. Their adjusted efficiency is tops in the Nation, they're great at hitting threes, don't turn the ball over too much - so how have they lost 5 games this season (especially to Notre Dame and Clemson)?
DR: I would say Duke has three relatively "good" losses this season, if there is such a thing. The losses to Kansas, Arizona and Syracuse were all disappointing, but understandable and the Blue Devils actually played well in all three games.
The loss to Notre Dame was one of the most baffling of the year, but it was a lack of defense and inability to score down the stretch that cost Duke the game. A similar thing happened against Clemson. Duke becomes vulnerable when they get lazy on the defensive end, particularly when giving up the lane off dribble penetration. Notre Dame and Clemson both did a great job at exploiting that weakness.
TT: Follow up - What would Maryland have to do in order to pull off the upset?
DR: The Terps have a chance if they can slow down the pace and make it a half-court game. Maryland can use its size and physicality to give the Blue Devils problems on both ends of the floor, and making it a slower game would also help neutralize Duke's depth and athleticism.
The other key for Maryland to have success will be on the boards. It's critical to limit Duke to only one shot on offense, and it's just as important to generate extra possessions on offense, especially considering how the Terrapins have struggled with scoring this season.
TT: Jabari Parker came into Duke as one of the top rated recruits nationally. Has he exceeded expectations this year? Do you think he'll return next season?
DR: He probably hasn't exceeded most people's expectations, but that's a sign of how ridiculous the expectations were for him when he arrived on campus. Though he's been criticized some for his shot selection, Parker has really been sensational. Aside from the short time we saw Kyrie Irving, I've never seen a freshman play this well at Duke. The way he's adjusted his game over the past couple weeks and become a dominant low post presence has been extraordinary.
There is lots of talk about him seriously considering coming back to school next season, but I just don't see it happening. Coach K is also on record in saying that he doesn't expect Jabari to return. Though it's a sad reality for the college game, guys rarely do themselves any favors in the eyes of the NBA when they elect to return to school.
TT: Despite looking like he's in his late 40s, Coach K is actually 67. How much longer do you think he continues coaching? If he retired after this season (theoretical), who would you want to replace him?
DR: Many people, myself included, seem to think Coach K will retire after the 2016 Olympics in Rio. It would hopefully be his third time leading Team USA to a gold medal and he would then be almost 70 years old. Considering all the other things he's involved with outside of coaching, that could be a great opportunity for him to step down and spend more time focusing on those other activities.
Replacing him will be an impossible task, no matter who takes the job. Brad Stevens has been the favorite for many Duke fans to eventually replace Coach K, but who knows if he would actually be interested in the job? Based on what he's been able to do at Northwestern this season in his first year as a head coach, my pick to eventually replace Krzyzewski would be Chris Collins.
TT: Despite the cheer sheets, I've always respected the Crazies for being intimidating and creative, virtually every game. Will they have any special parting shenanigans for what will likely be Maryland's last trip to Cameron Indoor?
DR: I suspect the Crazies will have plenty of things ready for Maryland in terms of ACC chants or digs at the Big Ten. One of the funnier things we've seen this year at Cameron Indoor Stadium is a variety of football related chants, such as the "Just like football!" chant that was used against N.C. State. Fortunately, Maryland won't have to endure any of those.
And I'm sure Duke fans will take plenty of opportunities to use the "Not our rival!" chant a few times as a parting shot for the Terps.
TT: What's your final prediction?
DR: This has been a strange week for Duke after having Wednesday night's game at North Carolina postponed due to bad weather. I expect the Blue Devils to get off to a slow start and for Maryland to make it interesting for the first 10-15 minutes.
However, I just don't see the Terps being able to hang with Duke for much longer than that and I think the Blue Devils to be able to make one of their signature runs near the halftime break. My bet is that Duke pulls away and gets a rather comfortable 81-67 victory.
Thanks to Dave for taking the time to sit down with us. You can see more of his work at DukeReport.com and @DukeReport and you can follow him on twitter at @davidmaldridge
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