A lot is on the line tonight when two of the most prolific teams in the ACC are set to square off tonight. The No. 4 Duke Blue Devils (25-4, 12-2 ACC) come into College Park to face a surging, No. 22 Maryland Terrapins (21-7, 11-3 ACC) .
Tonight will not only be important for Maryland because Duke is coming to town, but it is also Senior Night in College Park, MD. Maryland has three seniors being recognized tonight (Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne)
The Terps have a dominant Duke team coming to town that has handed Maryland six straight losses, and on February 13th embarrassed Maryland 77-56 in Durham.
Nonetheless, Maryland will look to avenge that loss tonight, when they play in Maryland’s biggest game in past years. Tonight is also a big for Duke, as Blue Devils look to lock-up their 14th ACC regular season title.
Entering tonight, Duke leads Maryland in the ACC standings, by a game, and with a win will clinch the ACC title; along with the number one seed in the ACC Tournament. However, Maryland can still become co-champions, with a win over Duke tonight, followed up by another win over Virginia. Also, although a long shot, Maryland can win the ACC outright, with a win over Duke tonight and North Carolina win against the Blue Devils this weekend.
Since the loss to Duke, Maryland is riding a 5 game winning streak, which includes a buzzer beater win against Georgia Tech, and a long-drawn-out 2OT win at Virginia Tech this past Saturday.Including the loss to Duke, Maryland has won 11 of its last 13 games.
However, Duke has also enjoyed similar success since beating Maryland, winning 4 straight with its last loss being a January 30th, a non-conference, road loss to Georgetown. Since its loss to Georgetown, Duke has outscored its opponents by an average of 13 points.
Also noted, Duke’s largest win margin (21 points) in that span came against Maryland at home.
The No. 8 Duke Blue Devils wasted no time against Maryland, jumping out early and never looked back. Although Maryland was able to reduce the margin to ten in the second half; Duke cut Maryland’s run short and finished off the Terps, 77-56.
The game was not only highlighted by Coach K’s 1,000 game at Duke, but also an unexpected performance from senior Duke center, Brian Zoubek.
Big Z’ had 17 rebounds to go along with his 16 points for the Blue Devils. Duke was led in points by ACC player of the year candidate, John Scheyer with 22 points. John Scheyer and Kyle Singler combined for a total of 32 points and were (5 of 10) from the 3-point mark.
Maryland’s leading scorer was Greivis Vasquez with 17 points, however he was held scoreless in the first sixteen minutes of play. The Maryland Terrapins will need a more consistent effort from Vasquez, who is also Maryland’s leading scorer, to win this game. Furthermore, the Terrapins will need a better performance from Vasquez’s supporting cast.Maryland’s four other starters combined to score only 20 points.
Maryland will need an impressive performance from freshman center, Jordan Williams. Williams’ in his first career game against Duke, logged 24 minutes and only 6 points. The Terps will need to look to Williams down low, both offensively and defensively tonight.
Duke is led by a 3-man trio (Scheyer, Singler, and Nolan Smith), that averages close to 52-points a game. However, with no disrespect to Duke’s scoring tandem, Maryland is led by Vasquez, Hayes, and Landon Milbourne, with approximately 44-points a game.
In what will be an emotional game for both teams, tonight is set to add yet another chapter to the heated Maryland-Duke rivalry, and could be the ACC game of the year.