Duke (19-5, 8-3) – University of Maryland (UM) (14-11, 6-6) Preview
Randy Dunson & Brian Horace
February 15, 2014
Having its game with UNC canceled on Wednesday, February 12 due to a crippling snow and ice storm (separate piece on this forthcoming), Duke hosts the Maryland Terrapins in the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium this Saturday. Duke has won 29 consecutive home games, which is the second-longest streak in the nation. Duke is 13-0 at home this season and has held nine straight opponents under 70 points. The Blue Devils are ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Blue Devils are 18-2 against unranked opponents this season with their lone losses coming on the road against ACC foes Notre Dame (77-79) and Clemson (59-72).
With three straight accomplished recruiting classes and an appearance in last year’s NIT Final Four, head coach Mark Turgeon supposedly had the Terrapins poised for a breakout campaign in the school’s final season as members of the highly competitive ACC. Unfortunately, the Terrapins have yet to break out.
Maryland began a critical road swing against two nationally ranked teams this week, first taking on No. 17 Virginia and now No. 8 Duke. This game marks the final time that these two teams will meet in ACC play. MD is currently unranked and the Terrapins are 0-5 against ranked opponents.
Team Seasons Thus Far
In its last outing on Monday, February 10, Maryland took on No. 17 Virginia and lost on their home court to the Cavaliers 61-53 in conference play. With the loss, the Terrapins stay winless versus AP-Ranked teams at 0-2 for the season. Joe Harris scored 19 points for the Cavaliers who stretched its winning streak to eight games with the win. Sophomore guard Seth Allen scored 15 points and junior forward Dezmine (“Dez”) Wells had 12 points and four rebounds for the Terrapins, which had won three of four. Sophomore guard Nick Faust scored nine points and added four rebounds.
Maryland, which finished 25-13 last season, returns six scholarship players, including All-ACC honorable mention Wells (15.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.2 APG). Allen (12.5 PPG, 3.3 APG) and Faust (9.8 PPG, 1.9 APG) lead the backcourt, while junior forward Evan Smotrycz (11.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG), sophomore center Shaquille Cleare (3.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG), and sophomore swingman Jake Layman (12.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG) give the Terps a diverse set of options in the frontcourt. Allen is two games removed from a career day against Florida State on February 8, when he posted a career-high 32 points on 7-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. He followed the effort with a team-high 15-point display at Virginia. He is averaging 18.5 points over his last four games. Wells averaged 17.3 points and seven rebounds in three games against Duke last year, and is averaging a team-high 16.4 points in road games this year. Faust is averaging 9.6 points in five career games against Duke. Other players contributing significant minutes are two freshman, forward Charles Mitchell (6.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG), who is the team’s leading rebounder, and guard Roddy Peters (4.6 PPG, 2.4 APG).
The Terps have been busy on the glass, ranking third in the conference in offensive rebounds (12.63 RPG) and second in total rebounds (903), despite not having a single player averaging more than 7.0 per game. They also are 11-1 when leading at the half, and 10-1 when holding opponents under 70 points.
Duke Blue Devils (No changes since posting of the Duke-UNC preview)
Duke overcame an uninspiring first half to come away with a convincing road win at Boston College, 89-68. Duke used the starting lineup of Rodney Hood, Amile Jefferson, Jabari Parker, Tyler Thornton, and Rasheed Sulaimon for the second straight game and third time this season. Parker has started all 24 games for Duke this season. The Blue Devils hit 11-of-21 (52%) three-pointers, marking the fourth straight game, and 14th time this season Duke has hit double-digit three-pointers. Duke is shooting 51-of-108 (.472) from three-point range during its current four-game streak. Parker scored a career-high 29 points and Quinn Cook added 21, giving Duke a 20-point scorer in 19 of 24 games. The Blue Devils got 27 points from its bench, marking the fifth straight game that Duke reserves have contributed at least 25 points. Cook contributed 21 of those with four three-pointers. Rebounding, especially on the offensive end, has become a newfound prowess as Duke grabbed double-digit offensive rebounds for the seventh straight game and converted those into 22 second-chance points. In conference play, Duke is averaging 12.9 offensive rebounds per game, which ranks third in the ACC. Duke played its 242nd consecutive game as a ranked team. The Blue Devils are 201-41 (.831) during that run, which began at the start of the 2007-08 season.
Duke is shooting 42 percent (232-of-552) from three-point range this season (ranked 1st nationwide) while averaging 9.7 made three-pointers per game (ranked 5th nationally). Andre Dawkins leads the ACC in three-point shooting percentage, hitting 47.8 percent (55-of-115) of his shots from beyond the arc. Dawkins is shooting 51.2 percent (22-of-43) from three-point range over his past seven games with multiple treys in all but one (BC) of those contests. Rasheed Sulaimon and Tyler Thornton are shooting a combined 57.4 percent (31-of-54) from three-point range since Duke began ACC play. Sulaimon boasts a .576 (19-of-33) clip, while Thornton owns a .571 (12-of-21) percentage. Dawkins and Rodney Hood are the top two three-point shooters in the ACC. Dawkins leads the league in three-point percentage, while Hood ranks second with a .468 (29-of-62) clip. Sulaimon has scored in double figures in seven of 11 ACC games and averages 11.0 points and 3.4 assists per game in conference play. Jabari Parker is attempting to become the first Duke freshman to lead the team in scoring and rebounding in the same season, currently averaging team highs of 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Parker leads the ACC in rebounding, averaging 9.1 boards per game. In conference play, he averages ACC-high 3.9 offensive rebounds per game. Since beginning conference play, Duke is averaging 12.9 offensive rebounds per game to rank third in the ACC. Duke has pulled in double-digit offensive rebounds in eight straight games and is averaging 17.1 points on second-chance opportunities in ACC play. The Blue Devils are also fourth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.64).
The matchup marks the 177th all-time meeting between the conference rivals, with Duke holding a lead in the overall series 113-63, dating back to 1926. In terms of home court venues played Duke leads 53-14 at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 26-21 at Cole Field House, and 6-5 at the Comcast Center. Duke is 54-23 under Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. In terms of overall historical win streaks, Duke’s longest is 15 (2/13/88-3/22/94) and MD’s is seven (2/24/73-2/7/76). The Terps are currently riding a two-game win streak in the series for the first time since 2007, and are looking to win three straight for the first time since 2004-05. This is the first season Maryland will not host the Blue Devils since the inception of the ACC in 1953-54. Maryland took two-of-three games from the Blue Devils last season, including an 83-74 victory in the ACC Tournament semifinals.
In terms of a few select overall season statistical parameters thus far, Duke leads in all but one category, which gives the Blue Devils a significant edge head-to-head.
Four Factors to Winning
Duke essentially has the edge in all four factors (marginal deficit in OR%). Duke has a significant edge in shooting (eFG%) at 55.9 vs. 50.1, ball handling (TO%) at 14.2 vs. 18.9, and shooting free throws (FT Rate) at 48.0% vs. 37.1%. MD has a marginal edge in offensive rebounding (OR%) 35.0 vs. 34.1.
This game will be a good test of the Duke ‘bigs’. MD boasts a good amount of size and muscle down low and in Shaq Cleare and Charles Mitchell. While they are not high scoring ‘bigs’ they may look so against Duke, and if they can use that sizing advantage to gain a rebounding advantage Duke could be looking at a close game. What worries us the most is the athletic ability of guard Dez Wells. He is a slashing BIG guard who has the size and strength to knife through and past the Duke defense. He gave Duke fits last year and we see him having a big game at Cameron as well. He has improved his jumps shots reliability and has made himself a much more complete player for MD. If Duke can contain him, as well as the shooting of guard Seth Allen then this game should be winnable. Allen is coming off some very big games as he works himself back into it from injury early in the season. He is an excellent shooter and he has underrated strength in his upper body. While not a very big guard Allen is very capable of finishing at the rim through contact so Duke has to play him for the drive or the shot. Allen scored 32 against Florida State hitting 7-10 from the 3-point line in a 12 point win against the Seminoles.
Defending the drive will be very important for Duke. Keeping those guards at bay will be no small feat but if they can make MD into a jump shooting team Duke should have the advantage over the Terps.
We think Duke should be able to win this game by double digits, Duke has to be keenly aware that MD is looking now, more so than any other time this year, for a signature win. With only a handful of games left in conference play expect the Terps to play desperate and Duke will need to match that energy. MD knows it probably has to win out and get far in the ACC Tournament in order to get to the NCAA Tournament. Notching a win at Duke would probably give them the nod as one of the last few teams in should they be able to. This for Duke, like nearly every game, is a potential trap game. Execution is the order of the day but in the end we feel that Duke will have the necessary tools to take MD out in their last game at Cameron.