Maryland basketball vs. Duke: Previewing the game

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (15-4, 3-3 ACC) vs. No. 1 Duke (16-2, 3-2).

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.

TV: WUSA-9, WJZ-13.

DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM, 1300 AM.

Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (second season at Maryland, 31-19). Blue Devils – Mike Krzyzewski (33rd season at Duke, 870-234).

THE SCRIPT

 

(Associated Press) (Associated Press)

Duke’s return to the nation’s top spot certainly did last long. The top-ranked Blue Devils were blown out at 25th-ranked Miami on Wednesday, losing 90-63 and getting mocked by the Hurricanes in the process. So suffice to say, Krzyzewski’s group will be highly motivated to take care of business against Maryland. The Terps, meanwhile, squeaked by Boston College on Tuesday at Comcast Center, 64-59, evening their ACC record at 3-3. Look for the Alex Len-Mason Plumlee matchup to take center stage underneath, though Maryland’s guard play against Quinn Cook and Seth Curry would very well dictate its chances. Especially away from home, the Terps have adopted somewhat of a grind-it-out philosophy, simply hoping to hang around and win by one.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Withstand the atmosphere? We all know how this young Maryland squad fared last Saturday at North Carolina, falling behind early in the first half and never recovering. Now the atmosphere will likely become even more hostile at Cameron Indoor, where fans and players alike will be taking out their aggression from the Miami loss. How the Terps, especially those playing here for the first time, handle the atmosphere could dictate whether this one remains close.

2. Screen well? An earlier post touched on this, but the Terps haven’t screened particularly well lately, causing their secondary break to suffer as a result. If their big men can draw Plumlee up high then force him into a one-on-one scenario against one of Maryland’s guards, the Terps’ offense could finally discover its groove at a key time.

3. Defend the perimeter? Duke had a miserable offensive effort against the Hurricanes, so a return home might be good for the shooting soul. Curry is the biggest weapon, shooting better than 40 percent from beyond the arc this season on nearly 100 attempts, and will be matched up against a host of Terps defenders, including Pe’Shon Howard.

THE STATS

6: ACC opponents held to worse than 38 percent shooting by Maryland, in six conference games.

.211: Maryland’s all-time winning percentage against Duke in Durham (15-56).

1,834: Days since the Terps last defeated a No. 1-ranked team, on Jan. 19, 2008 against North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

THE QUOTES

“Last year, it was a great atmosphere. We weren’t as strong a team as we were last year. But I feel we have a way better chance, great inside presence, very aggressive guards, a really well-rounded game. I feel that will help us a lot.” – Nick Faust

“I think our guys will be excited because it’s the number one team in the country. We have a lot of new players who haven’t been in that building, so it’ll be excited to play in that building. More importantly we’re coming off a road game where we weren’t very good in the first half, so I imagine our guys will be a lot more in-tune and ready to go. Obviously Duke’s going to be ready to go after what happened last night. So we’ll really have to be ready and match their intensity early, weather the storm and hang around. I expect them to be excited.” –Turgeon.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65.

THE POLL

Who ya got? Vote on the WaPo’s new forums.

MUCH, MUCH MORE

Duke will be tough place for Terps to solve road woes.

Maryland’s secondary break still a work in progress.

Video: Jake Layman talks Duke, and his hair.

Dez Wells to get more time at point guard.

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

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Alex Prewitt · January 25, 2013