Duke (22-7, 8-6) vs Maryland (22-7, 8-6)
Durham, N.C. - Cameron Indoor Stadium
9:00 p.m., ESPN
Program Vitals Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference Nickname: Terrapins Colors: Red & White Head Coach: Gary Williams (18th year) Career Record at Maryland: 375-198 (582-326 Overall)
Projected Starters: 2 D.J. Strawberry (6-5, 205, Sr.) – 15.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.6 apg 23 Mike Jones (6-5, 200, Sr.) – 12.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg 15 James Gist (6-8, 230, Jr.) – 12.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg 25 Ekene Ibekwe (6-9, 215, Sr.) – 10.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg 21 Greivis Vasquez (6-5, 195, Fr.) – 10.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.4 apg Key Reserves: 50 Bambale Osby (6-8, 255, Jr.) – 5.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg 5 Eric Hayes (6-3, 175, Fr.) – 5.3 ppg, 4.0 apg 24 Parrish Brown (6-1, 175, Sr.) – 3.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg 31 Will Bowers. (7-1, 260, Sr.) - 2.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg
How They Got Here:
Both teams enter Wednesday night's game on a hot streak. After sending Duke to a fourth consecutive conference loss back on February 11th, the Terrapins have reeled off five straight victories including a win over then No. 5 North Carolina on Sunday afternoon in College Park. Since that fourth straight loss, the Blue Devils have rebounded to win four straight.
Wednesday night's match up will be the 161st time the Blue Devils and Terrapins have met with Duke holding a 101-59 all-time lead in the series. This will be the 61st time the two teams have played in Cameron Indoor Stadium, with Duke holding a 47-13 advantage in such games. Under Mike Krzyzewski Duke is 42-19 against Maryland.
Last Time Experience Trumped Youth:
Led by a combined 28 points D.J. Strawberry and freshman point guard Greivis Vasquez, Maryland trailed Duke very early before errupting for a 29-4 run that left no doubt of the outcome by the midway point of the first half. After falling so far behind, the Blue Devils cut a 20-point deficit to 58-52 before Ekene Ibekwe and Mike Jones had two baskets apiece in a 10-2 spree that made it 68-54 with 3:33 left.
While Duke's Josh McRoberts played one of his best games of the season (20 points, 8 rebounds, four blocks), fellow captains Greg Paulus (7 turnovers) and DeMarcus Nelson struggled - especially during Maryland's back breaking first half run.
Terps Are Hot And In:
No longer an annual invitee to the Big Dance, Maryland has already assured itself of a bid to the 2007 NCAA Tournament by compiling a 22-7 overall mark along with eight ACC wins. Now, like Duke, the Terps are battling to improve their potential seeding in whichever bracket they land. Duke is in a similar situation. With an identical record, but a much better RPI and Strength of Schedule rating, the Blue Devils could earn as high as a 3 seed, or as low as a 6 seed.
While the Blue Devils are used to extended periods of winning, this five game unbeaten streak is Maryland's first since the Terrapins finished the 2001-02 season with 12 consecutive league victories.
Night And Day For Duke:
Tracing the source of Duke's resurgence over the past four games begins with the three captains. During that time Josh McRoberts, DeMarcus Nelson, and Greg Paulus have all been consistent contributors - something that did not happen during the previous four games. Since losing to Maryland Nelson has regained his starting position and posted 14.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. Paulus has averaged 15.8 points, and 4.8 assists per game. He did log a season high nine turnovers against Clemson, which left his four game average at 4.3 turnovers per contest in those four games. The most notable improvement in the sophomore floor generals' game has been his shot selection - limiting himself to no more than 10 shots in any of the four games, while shooting 56% from the field. By now it's clear that McRoberts won't be a go to scorer for Duke on a consistent basis, but he has been extremely steady recently. The sophomore center has averaged 10.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists (against just 2.0 turnovers), and 2.3 blocks per game in the last four.