The Teams: Maryland Terrapins (14-11, 6-6 ACC) vs. Duke Blue Devils (19-5, 8-3 ACC)
The Time: 6 p.m. EST
The Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
TV/Radio: ESPN, 105.7 FM, ESPN3
The Backstory: Maryland put together a pair of very impressive games against Florida State and Virginia this past week. Unfortunately for the Terps, they only came away with one victory as they cruised to an easy win against the Seminoles last Saturday.
Maryland has received excellent play from their guards over the past two games. Seth Allen has been absolutely sensational and has really let the game come to him. After scoring a career-high 32 points against Florida State, the Virginian native was very efficient (7-of-14 from the floor) as he netted 15 points in a loss against the Cavaliers. Allen has been excelling at penetrating towards the basket and either finding him teammates or attacking the rim himself. Allen is shooting 62 percent (18-of-29) from the floor over the past two games.
The frontcourt continues to be a significant issue for the Terps. In the Virginia game, the likes of Charles Mitchell, Jonathan Graham, and Shaquille Cleare combined for just four points and six personal fouls. Mitchell has seen himself in the starting lineup the past two games and hasn’t played bad. The Georgia native posted a eight point, five rebound outing against Florida State, but only attempted one shot against Virginia. This is a huge problem for the Terps because they have no consistent options to throw the basketball to in the low post. There were several possessions on Monday where the Terps just handed the ball back and forth due to not being able to penetrate towards the basket.
On the other hand, you have the Duke Blue Devils. The most-hated opponent on Maryland’s schedule for years. This squad is far and above last year’s team. Duke has an insane amount of firepower, especially on the perimeter. After some early season struggles and falling down into the 20s of the polls, the Blue Devils are playing their best basketball of the season. They’ve won seven of their last eight games and freshman Jabari Parker is really hitting his stride.
Keys/Storylines To Watch:
1.) Maryland has to rebound well In recent years, Duke has possessed a very strong frontcourt with the likes of Brian Zoubek and Miles and Mason Plumlee leading the way. This season, it’s quite a bit different. The Blue Devils only have three players that average over 2.5 rebounds-per-game and only one of those is a big man (Amile Jefferson with 6.8). On the national scale, Duke ranks 179th with 35 rebounds-per-game so it’s pretty evident that they struggle in the paint. Maryland is going to have to capitalize in this area if they want to knock off their arch rival. Forward Charles Mitchell could be a huge asset for Maryland in this one.
2.) Force Jabari Parker to settle Freshman sensation Jabari Parker arguably one of the best players in the country and could give Maryland fits. Parker is a guy who makes his living with his midrange game. The Chicago native shoots at a 48.2 percent clip, mainly because he attacks the rim and can make a living along the baseline. The Terps need to keep Parker out of the paint as best they can. Maryland needs to force Parker to settle for jumpers 20-30 feet from the basket and pressure him enough to force him to make passes to his teammates.
3.) Just win baby It’s hard to believe that this is Maryland’s final game against Duke as a member of the ACC. The Terps were able to knock off Duke two out of three times last year and will only get one chance at it this season. For Maryland, it’s one final chance to knock off their most-hated rival and put one final jab in Coach K’s chest. Maryland would love nothing more than to stick it to the Blue Devils one last time.