Maryland Terrapins vs. Duke Blue Devils Preview and Pick

Maryland Terrapins (16-8) +12, 157 O/U at Duke Blue Devils (21-1)
-12, 157 O/U, Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C. 7 PM Eastern,

by Badger of

If the No. 2-ranked Duke Blue Devils still have anything left to
prove to the naysayers this season, how they perform on Wednesday
night when they host the Maryland Terrapins in a key ACC challenge
could be the statement game to finally make them go away.

Duke, who is just a one-point overtime loss versus Pittsburgh away
from being perfect this season, will be looking for their 12th
straight victory on Wednesday. One of those 11 wins came against this
same Maryland team, a 93-84 decision played in College Park back on
January 27th. The Blue Devils solidified their hold on the No. 2
ranking this past week with a 89-78 victory over rival North
Carolina, then followed it up with a 90-80 victory over Boston College.

Maryland hasnt lost since their earlier game versus Duke either,
running off four straight victories including an impressive 84-70
thumping of North Carolina State on Saturday. Maryland is fully
capable of springing the upset too. Not only did they do it to North
Carolina earlier this season, but the Terrapins have beaten Duke in
two of their last three visits to Cameron Indoor Stadium including
last years 85-77 upset over the then 14th-ranked Blue Devils.

Online Bookies opened the game with Duke as large 12-point
favorites and with a 157 total.

Duke continues to thrive on its wide-open, drive-n-dish scheme on
offense that creates layups or wide open 3-point shots. With a
plethora of shooting guards on the floor that are all capable of
driving off the dribble, or hitting the open look, its no secret why
the Blue Devils average 86 points per game and have been beaten their
ACC opponents by an average of 14.4 points a game.

Senior guard DeMarcus Nelson has raised his game in the last seven
contests, averaging 19.4 points per game on lights-out shooting (54.8
FG%). But hes not alone, as freshman forward Kyle Singler (17.8 ppg
in last 4 games) and senior Greg Paulus (16 ppg in last 4 games) have
also stepped it up of late.

Marylands offense is led by an inside-outside combo of forward James
Gist and guard Greivis Vasquez. Gist has been averaging 22 points and
nearly 9 rebounds a game in his last six contests, and finished with
a career-high 30 points in the victory over N.C. State last Saturday.
Vasquez is the Terps best all-around threat, as he averages 16.9
points, 6.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds a game in ACC play and he put it
all on display last time out with a 13-point, 15-dimes, 9-rebound
afternoon versus the Wolfpack.

The big question is whether Duke can stop the inside game of Bambale
Osby. Osby burned Duke for 20 points and 15 boards in their earlier
matchup, and should provide Maryland with the inside game again that
the Blue Devils have struggled to stop all season long.

Defensively these two teams are very similar. Dukes season average
of points allowed per game (67.1) is only a fraction better than the
Terps average (67.8). But the home/road splits show a wider
difference, as Maryland allows 74 points per game on the road, while
Duke feeds of the Cameron Crazies and clamps down to allow just 66
points per game at home.

Maryland does do an excellent job of getting hands up and challenging
shots though, as they are 12th in the country in field goal
percentage defense with a 38.4 average and 36th in 3-point percentage
defense at 31.5.

Dating back to 2005, one of these teams has swept the season series
each of the past three years. Duke won both games in 06, while
Maryland won both games in 05 and last season. Of course, Duke won
this years earlier game, so take that for what its worth. Maryland
has just a slight 4-3 ATS record in all of the games in the head-to-
head series over that time frame.

The Terrapins are 9-10 ATS on the season, but they have covered the
spread in all four games since the loss to Duke in January, and are
6-3 ATS in ACC play.

Duke is a strong money making 13-7-1 ATS on the season, 7-1-1 ATS in
the ACC, and 8-2-1 ATS at Cameron Indoor this year. The Blue Devils
were on a six-game covering streak until they pushed as 15-point
favorites versus Miami on Feb. 2nd, then failed to cover as 18-point
favorites versus B.C. last time out.

Badgers Pick: After watching Duke handle the Tar Heels last week,
most bettors are probably thinking that they are the team to beat.
But that was a short-handed North Carolina team, and one that doesnt
play nearly as good of defense as the Terrapins do. Maryland will
challenge every shot Duke attempts, inside and outside, and should
have enough offense to keep it close. Take Maryland plus the points.