#22Maryland Terrapins (21-7overall, 11-3ACC)
3/3/10 9PM Comcast Center, College Park, MD
Leading scorer: DUKE: Jon Scheyer18.8ppg MD: Greivis Vasquez 19.5ppg
PF: DUKE 79.2. MD: 80.0 PA: DUKE: 61.7. MD: 67.3
Last game: DUKE: def UVA 67-49 MD: def VaTech 104-100 2ot
Duke is 5-4 on the road, Maryland is 14-1 at home.
There aren't enough adjectives in the English language to explain the enormity of this game for the Terps and their fans so I am not going to try. The Terps are coming off an impressive 104-100 double overtime victory in Blacksburg on Saturday, a win which that left them in sole possession of second place in the conference and finally vaulted them into the top 25. Not only is it Maryland/Duke, but the Terps look to remain undefeated in conference at home, and it's for first place in the ACC and is senior night for Landon Milbourne, Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez . Big game? I'd say so.
It is no coincidence that Duke has won the last six meetings against the Terps, including a 21 point victory in their first meeting this season, they just create major match up problems for the Terps.. The length of Brian Zoubek created major problems last meeting as he scored 16 points and grabbed 17 boards and the Duke back court is equally as talented as the Terps. Defensively, the Blue Devils have suffocated the Terps not allowing 70 points in any of their last seven victories. Their length makes it hard for the Terps to shoot over and their ability to rotate over causes lots of problems every time the Terps drive to the basket. The Terps will need to find some way to crack the Duke defense and score at least 70 points, which has been a number the has meant victory for the Terps all but once this year.
Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith all score in double figures for the Blue Devils, but it was Brian Zoubek who was the difference in the first meeting. Zoubek's career game inside opened up the perimeter for Scheyer and company, who shot 41 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3 point range, all but burying the Terps. . Singler creates major match up problems for Landon Milbourne as his length and ability to shoot from the perimeter, give him a dimension the Milbourne doesn't see from a lot of the players he matches up with. The Singler/ Milbourne match up will be a major key in determining who wins the game. Singler won the first one, and hopefully for the Terps, Milbourne wins this one.
Despite how well they have played this season, nobody, including yours truly, expected the Terps to go into Blacksburg and come out with a win, but that is precisely what happened. The Terps won a gritty, high scoring, double overtime game against the Hokies, thanks to the second highest single game scoring total in Terps history from Vasquez, setting up the match up everyone has been a long time for. If the Terps are going to get first place in the ACC and finish undefeated in conference play at home, they are going to have go through the Duke Blue Devils to do it, and that's just fine with them.
In the first meeting against Duke this season the Terps scored just 56 points, making just two of 13 3 pointers and shooting 37.7 percent from the field. Home cooking should do the Terps good as they shot 61 percent from 3 point last in their last home game and they have not scored less than 76 points in any home game. Greivis Vasquez scored 41 in the Terps last game and stands just 80 points behind Len Bias for second on the all time Terps scoring list and less than 200 from passing Juan Dixon for the most in Terps history. Vasquez likes the big stage and there is no bigger stage then a nationally televised game, at home, on senior night, with a share of the regular season ACC title on the line. Hoepfully Vasquez's emotions help him more than they hurt him, if they do, the Terps have a great shot of winning. Vasquez scored 17 in the first meeting against Duke but his supporting cast only scored 38 points between them. The Terps have depth and players like Cliff Tucker, Adrian Bowie and Dino Gregory have all made contributions lately and will need to if they want beat Duke.The Terps have three or four players capable of carrying the team, which gives them a major advantage over Duke. I expect a big game from Vasquez but it will be Sean Mosley, Landon Milbourne, Eric Hayes and company who will determine if the Terps will win or lose.
Maryland has more wins (9) against Duke then any other ACC team outside of North Carolina has this decade, but they have lost their last six to the Blue Devils including an 11 point loss at Comcast Center last season. The Terps have played amazing at home but have come out flat early in their last few games, something they can't afford to do Wednesday night. Emotions will be a major factor and how the Terps handle those emotions will be keep. If they come out too emotional it could hurt them more than help them, so expect Gary Williams to try to find a way to quell the emotions if he sees things getting out of hand. All signs are pointing to a Terps victory in this game, despite Duke being ranked in the top four in the country. Last time a team this highly ranked came into the Comcast Center, Greivis Vasquez greeted them with a triple double and sent them home packing with a loss. I expect a big game from Vasquez and think the Terps will get the job done and finally beat the Blue Devils. I am aware of their struggles against Duke and the match ups but I am a big believer in momentum and home court and think those two things will propel the Terps to victory. Greivis Vasquez will cement his legacy as one of the greatest Terps of all time and all but lock up the ACC player of the year award with at least a 25 point game against the Blue Devils. Terps win to tie the Duke for 1st place in conference and make the statement on the national level that they are for real. Terps 79 Duke 69.