The Terrapins fell at then top-ranked Duke 71-64 on Jan. 9, and while the Blue Devils aren't No. 1 anymore -- and are coming off an embarrassing 93-78 loss at St. John's -- Maryland has a chance to pick up one of those elusive high-profile, help-your-RPI wins with Duke in town Feb. 2.
After a Jan. 27 win at Virginia, Maryland was 75th in the RPI with a strength-of-schedule rank of 51st, numbers not quite good enough to ensure an at-large NCAA Tournament bid at this point.
Maryland has had some success against the perennially powerful Blue Devils, winning six of the last 15 meetings, a pretty good mark against dominating Duke. In fact, when Duke came to the Comcast Center last year, the Terps sent them home with a 79-72 loss, the Devils' last setback on their way to the national championship.
And Duke aside, the Terrapins have been taking care of business recently, winning three straight conference games, counting their 74-63 result at Georgia Tech on Jan. 30. That streak has pushed the Terrapins to 14-7 overall and 4-3 in the ACC, the first time they've been over .500 in the league after opening with losses to Boston College and then Duke.
Now Maryland can keep that momentum alive with a three-game homestand, starting with Duke but continuing with Wake Forest on Feb. 5, and then the last non-conference tilt Feb. 9 against Longwood. The Terrapins are 10-2 at home this season but just 1-2 in ACC play at the Comcast Center.
A key road stretch, at Boston College on Feb. 12 and at Virginia Tech on Feb. 15, looms large.
--Sophomore F Jordan Williams who was held to four points and six rebounds at Virginia, bounced back with 21 points and 15 rebounds at Georgia Tech. He had six points early on, hitting his first three shots and helping Maryland to an 11-4 lead, often scoring in transition. Williams' school-record streak of 13 double-double performances was stopped at Virginia, but he came back with a vengeance against under-sized Georgia Tech. Few big men run the floor as well as Williams.
--Maryland failed to hit a 3-pointer at Georgia Tech, going 0-for-6 behind the arc and snapping a streak of 407 games with at least one 3-point field goal made.
--Maryland improved to 3-1 in ACC road games with the win at Georgia Tech, where the Yellow Jackets had previously been 3-0 in conference play and were 8-2 overall, winning by an average of 23.3 points per game in Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
BY THE NUMBERS: 18 -- Number of double-double performances (points and rebounds) Jordan Williams has put together in 21 games this season. Besides the school record 13 in a row, that overall figure leads the nation. Morehead State's Kenneth Faried has 17.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The ACC has won five of the last 10 national championships, so don't tell me we're a weak league. I believe (ACC teams won NCAA titles) the last two years, the last time I checked. I believe (Maryland) beat the last two national champions, the last time I checked. But everybody's afraid to say that around here, for some reason." -- Coach Gary Williams.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--vs. Duke, Feb. 2
KEY MATCHUPS: The Terrapins gave Duke all it wanted Jan. 9 in Durham, but Kyle Singler had 25 points and Nolan Smith added 18 as the Blue Devils pulled away late for a 71-64 win, at that time their 25th in a row. Maryland still may not have anyone to match up with Singler, but the Terps know they can hang with Duke, and they won the last meeting between the two teams in College Park last year.
--vs. Wake Forest, Feb. 5
KEY MATCHUPS: The Terps took a 74-55 win at Wake on Jan. 12. Cliff Tucker had a season-high 21 points and Maryland limited the Deacons to 25.8 percent shooting from the field. Wake, which picked up its first conference win Jan. 29 against Virginia, has a little momentum but the Deacs will have to do a much better job at both ends to contend at Maryland.
FUTURES MARKET: Freshman guard Terrell Stoglin, struggling earlier this month, has shifted back into gear of late as the Terps' starting point guard. He had 13 points and four rebounds, and was 7-for-7 at the line at Georgia Tech, helping steady Maryland late as the Yellow Jackets rallied. This week is important for the flashy freshman. He was just 1 of 10 from the field at Duke and only 1 of 9 at Wake Forest. He continues to mature as a player and he is important, speeding tempo and helping the offense get more easy baskets with his ability to push the ball up.
--Junior G Sean Mosley, who has struggled offensively all season, found his game at Georgia Tech, scoring 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting. It was Mosley's first double-digit scoring effort in eight games, and he was coming off an 0-for-3 scoreless game at Virginia. The 16 points were the most for Mosley since he had 21 in the season-opener against Seattle.
--Senior G Adrian Bowie went the other way. Coming off a season-high 22 points at Virginia, Bowie hit just 1 of 10 and had only three points at Georgia Tech. Bowie had scored in double figures in the last five games and eight of the last nine. He did have three of Maryland's nine steals against the Jackets.
--Reserve freshman G Pe'Shon Howard hit six of his last nine shots in the consecutive road wins through Jan. 30. He averaged 7.5 ppg over those two games, well above his 4.4 scoring average on the season, and seems to be getting more comfortable in his role as backup point guard.