No. 7 Duke Blue Devils (22-5) at Maryland Terrapins (17-9)
Comcast Center, Baltimore, Maryland, 9:00PM Eastern, Wednesday
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The No. 7 Duke Blue Devils appeared to be in major trouble nearly a week ago after suffering back to back losses in the conference which include their first loss to Boston College in almost 20 years. However, the Blue Devils bounced back in a big way beating the potent offense of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 101-91 on Sunday. Maryland scored an even bigger victory last weekend when they took no. 3 North Carolina into overtime edging them out 88-85 in upset fashion. The Terrapins started ACC play losing 4 of their first 6, but have turned that completely around winning 4 of their last 6 in conference play. The Terrapins will host the Blue Devils on Wednesday night and will attempt their 2nd straight upset and get revenge from Dukes huge blowout win back in January over the Terps by a score of 85-44.
Duke has been fairly strong all season, but they ran into a tough stretch where they were not producing Blue Devil quality basketball. Coach K switched things up against Wake Forest inserting freshmen guard Elliot Williams who had not started a single game all season and it turned out to be very effective. Williams scored 11 points while Gerald Henderson had a huge night knocking down 35 points in the high scoring affair over the Demon Deacons. The Blue Devils will likely stay with the same lineup heading into their road contest with Maryland as Elliot Williams will get the nod to start.
Maryland overcame a 9 point deficit at the half to rally in their upset over North Carolina inside the Comcast Center. The Terrapins will attempt to put together a similar performance again on their home court when they host the Blue Devils. Junior guard Greivis Vasquez was stellar in the Terrapins upset as the teams leading scorer led the revolt by posting 35 points. Vasquez 35 points were not the only impressive statistic for the night as the junior also scored a double-double with 11 rebounds in the contest as well. Maryland will look for their productive guard to lead them in a big way over a strong Duke defense.
Bookies have the betting line favoring the no. 7 Duke Blue Devils by a total of 6 points even over the Maryland Terrapins. The over/under total for the game is posted at the 144.5 mark as both teams have high scoring potential.
The Blue Devils actually still have a legitimate shot at the regular ACC title thanks to Marylands upset over North Carolina. The Blue Devils are one game behind North Carolina and will still get a re-match with the Tarheels in their season finale in early March. This game will be interesting to see if Duke has returned to playing the way they did for much of the season in ACC play or if their struggles will continue. However, last weeks spark over Wake Forest and new lineup should give the Blue Devils some confidence heading into the showdown. Jon Scheyer also posted big numbers in the Wake Forest win knocking down 30 points and 5 3 pointers. If Duke can get that kind of offensive performance again they will be extremely tough to beat.
Maryland is averaging 73 points per game on the season while allowing a dismal 68 points per game. The Terrapins will have to accomplish one of two things to prevail in their game with Duke on Wednesday. Maryland will either have to match the scoring of Duke similar to the way they beat North Carolina or play strong defense and prevent the Blue Devils shooters from getting open looks. The Terrapins are only shooting 42% on the season while allowing 42% from opponents as well. The key for the Terrapins will be their ability to shut down the perimeter shooting from the Blue Devils and force Duke to beat them on the inside.
Maryland has won 4 of their last 5 games ATS and have split the last 10 games (5-5) with the Blue Devils. Duke is only 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games on the road and crushed Maryland earlier this season 85-44.
Jays Pick: Big play on the Blue Devils in this one. Maryland is in a letdown situation and the Blue Devils have restored confidence that will keep them hot up to their re-match with North Carolina.