The Sunday Terps Look-Ahead: Boston College and Duke

January 20, 2013

(Associated Press)

Welcome to the Sunday Terps Look-Ahead, a weekly feature breaking down the upcoming action for the Maryland men’s basketball team, as well as a brief recap of its most recent games. Let’s get started.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED

Maryland went 1-2 in ACC games this past week, topping North Carolina State in that thrilling, buzzer-beating win at Comcast Center but dropping road games at Miami and North Carolina, most recently falling to the Tar Heels, 62-52, Saturday afternoon.

The Terps are still struggling to reclaim their offensive identity, but have somewhat of a buffer game coming Tuesday before traveling back to Tobacco Road this weekend. Which leads us into the next segment…

WHO’S UP NEXT

Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 9 p.m.: vs. Boston College (9-8, 1-3 ACC) at Comcast Center. Televised on ESPNU.

Saturday, Jan. 26 at 1 p.m.: at Duke (16-1, 3-1 ACC) in Durham, N.C. Televised on CBS.

WHAT THEY’VE DONE

Boston College: The Eagles have lost three of four since beginning ACC play, most recently a 60-59 heartbreaker at home against first-place Miami. With a half-second left and Boston College behind 60-57, freshman Olivier Hanlan was fouled on a three-pointer. He barely stuck two free throws before the third clanged off the front iron.

Boston College’s only ACC win came on Jan. 9 at Virginia Tech, when Ryan Anderson had 26 points and nine rebounds. By that point, the Eagles had won six of seven, the only loss coming in their ACC opener vs. North Carolina State by five points at home.

Since, they’ve lost at Wake Forest (75-72) and vs. Miami. They’re a middle-of-the-pack team in most statistical categories, except for the league’s worst field-goal percentage and three-point percentage defense, which could help the Terps overcome their own shooting woes.

Duke: Despite its road loss to North Carolina State on Jan. 12, the Blue Devils are still ranked third nationally in both the AP and coaches polls, and will likely be in line to move back into the No. 1 spot with Louisville and Indiana both losing this week.

The Blue Devils struggled against the Wolfpack without injured star Ryan Kelly, sidelined indefinitely with a right foot injury. They’re not exactly a deep team, especially since injuries have weasled their way through the roster, but Duke still boasts enough talent to be the ACC favorite, with the league’s second-ranked scoring offense, field-goal percentage and top-ranked three-point percentage.

Plus, the Blue Devils are battle-tested, with wins over Louisville, Minnesota, Ohio State and VCU, among others, and are exceptional at home. They bounced back from that North Carolina State loss by hammering Georgia Tech, 73-57, behind a career-high six three-pointers from Seth Curry, and will travel to Miami on Wednesday before hosting the Terrapins this weekend.

WHO THEY’VE GOT

Boston College: Hanlan has won the ACC’s rookie of the week award twice this season, most recently after averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.5 steals over his first two conference games. He ranks second on the Eagles with 13.6 points per game, but is shooting just 30.3 percent from beyond the arc and has a 1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Anderson, meanwhile, is fourth in the ACC with 16.4 points per game, fifth with a 17.6 total rebounding percentage and sixth with a player efficiency rating of 26.2, according to sports-reference.com. A power forward, Anderson averages nearly a double-double, so Boston College will look to work through the sophomore inside, although Maryland could approach him similarly like it did with Virginia Tech’s Erick Green: If he scores, so be it, but limit his quality looks.

Duke: Even with Kelly out, the Blue Devils are still loaded. Mason Plumlee is the early front-runner for ACC player of the year, averaging 17.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, which rank second and first in the conference, respectively. The Wolfpack stymied his open looks in Raleigh, limiting the senior to baby hooks outside the restricted area, but once Plumlee gets going it’s hard to stop that runaway train.

Curry, meanwhile, is shooting 45.7 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 16.9 points over 30.4 minutes per game. Point guard Quinn Cook ranks second in the ACC with 6.1 assists per game and second with a 32.4 assist percentage, while freshman Rasheed Sulaimon rebounded from an abysmal 0-for-10 performance against North Carolina State with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting vs. the Yellow Jackets.

There’s a big drop-off after Plumlee, Curry, Cook and Sulaimon, though. All four average double figures, but Duke’s next leading scorer (Amile Jefferson) gets just 3.7 points per game.

WHAT’S BEEN SAID

Boston College: “There is not much you can do there; it’s a difficult situation to put someone in. The game was riding on three made foul shots and that’s not to win, that’s to tie.

“I’m so proud of him and he’s not comfortable right now on the line. You could tell tonight he wasn’t his normal self. He didn’t get a great stroke on the last one, but I don’t know where we would be without him.” — Eagles Coach Steve Donahue on Hanlan’s free throws. 

Duke: “A lot of people outside the gym think that we can’t be successful without Ryan. Ryan is a big piece of our team, but we have other guys that our coaching staff recruited here for a reason. We’re all excited just to be able to come in and show what we can do.” — Duke guard Tyler Thornton on Kelly.

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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