Duke (21-5) vs Maryland (17-9)
College Park, Md. - Comcast Center
TV: ESPN / Tip: 9:00 PM EST
Program Vitals Conference: ACC Nickname: Terrapins Colors: Red, Yellow, and White Head Coach: Gary Williams (20th season) Career Record at Maryland: 621-352
Projected Starters: 1 Landon Milbourne (6-7, 210, Jr.) – 12.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg 35 Dave Neal (6-7, 265, Sr.) – 7.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg 5 Eric Hayes (6-4, 185, Jr.) – 9.7 ppg, 3.3 apg 21 Greivis Vasquez (6-6, 190, Jr.) – 16.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.7 apg 22 Adrian Bowie (6-2, 190, So.) – 9.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg Key Reserves: 4 Braxton Dupree (6-8, 260, So.) – 2.9 ppg, 1.0 rpg 11 Jin Soo Kim (6-8, 195, Fr.) – 1.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg 14 Sean Mosley (6-4, 210, Fr.) – 5.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg 33 Dino Gregory (6-7, 230, So.) - 2.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Storylines For Maryland:
How They Got Here:
The Blue Devils appeared to be headed for another late season swoon - losing three of four games - before head coach Mike Krzyzewski juggled his starting lineup by inserting freshman Elliot Williams at the off guard position and sliding Jon Scheyer to the point. Since that time the Devils have beaten St. John's at Madison Square Garden and then taken out then No.8 Wake Forest by 10 in Cameron Indoor.
Meanwhile the Terrapins are looking to build their tournament resume and get off the proverbial bubble. Last week's victory over North Carolina was a big step in that direction and gives the Terps two quality wins on the season. But, true to this season's form, the win over North Carolina came on the Heels (no pun intended) of a 29 point loss to Clemson. Overall Maryland enters Wednesday night's game having won three of four.
This will be the 165th overall meeting between the two programs. Duke holds a 104-60 lead and has won three straight including a 41 blowout in this season's first match up. In that game the Blue Devil offense was balanced - getting eight players scoring seven or more points as the team ran out to a 25 point halftime lead and cruised from there.
Both teams appear to be healthy as they enter Wednesday night's game.
Riding A Wave?:
Most likely a victory over the Blue Devils would secure an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for Maryland. It would be the third victory over a top 10 opponent on the season and would show that Gary Williams' team is playing its best basketball at the right time. Despite the relatively importance of Wednesday's game for Maryland's post season hopes, Williams knows the game will reveal how much his team has grown.
"We want to play well down the stretch," said Williams. "That was our goal - to play well and to get better as the season went on. I think we have, and now we have another chance to prove it. When you play really good teams and ranked team, there's no hiding it. You have to play well or you're not going to win the game. This is another test for us just like Carolina was a test."
Home Court Advantage: Known for their incredibly rowdy and spirited fan base (see them boo'ing the team earlier this season), the Terrapins will be looking for some help from their "sixth man" as the Blue Devils come to town. Maryland has been a much different team at home this year - posting an impressive 14-2 mark in front of their fans. Still, Williams believes that an emotional lift will only carry his team so far.
"Obviously, you'd rather play at home. This time of year you have to be able to play wherever you are. Having played Carolina twice and now Duke twice, they're four really good games, but also games that year in and year out are going to be a nationally ranked team. You hope you're good enough to play with those teams. Playing at home is an advantage, but that doesn't win the game for you. The way we play will decide whether we win or not."
Watch Out For...
Greivis Vasquez is coming off the best performance of his career - posting his first career triple-double by scoring a career-high 35 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists against North Carolina. The 35 points were seven more than his previous career mark of 28 and included 13-of-24 shooting from the field and 5-of-10 from the perimeter. It was a marked improvement from the earlier season performance against Duke that saw Vasquez shoot just 2-of-10 from the field and finish with just four points and four turnovers after proclaiming Cameron Indoor Stadium to be "his house".
The Blue Devils will also look to do a better job on Landon Milbourne who hit Duke for 19 points and five rebounds in 30 minutes in the first match-up.
Clearly there will be motivation for the Terrapins to avenge the utter humiliation of the first match up. There is certainly evidence that the Blue Devils won't see the same Terrapin team they beat by 41...neither will Maryland see the same Duke opponent. This newest version of Duke has a completely different style and is likely a bit more athletic, though somewhat inexperienced. Watching freshman Elliot Williams' first venture into a truly hostile environment will be interesting for Blue Devil fans as well as the Duke coaching staff. Look for Duke to try to establish Henderson and to get Williams going early on to overcome the nerves. Maryland will certainly be fired up, and their crowd certainly looks to take it to another level when they see the Blue Devils. Still look for the Blue Devils to finish strong and pull away late.