Maryland-Duke pre-game notes


***Join us in the Turtle Power live chat as Maryland battles Duke at Comcast Center beginning at 9:00***

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — All season the Terps have been slapped with the “not quite good enough” label after a number of opportunities to knock off quality opponents only to fall short every time.

Maryland (14-7, 4-3 ACC) will have another chance — perhaps its best one — tonight as No. 5 Duke (19-2, 6-1 ACC) comes to College Park for a rematch less than a month after the Blue Devils bested the Terps in a narrow 71-64 contest at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 9.

The Terps are riding a three-game winning streak while Duke has had three days to stew over its embarrassing 93-78 loss at St. John’s on Sunday afternoon. Despite being the consensus favorite in the ACC all season long, the Blue Devils find themselves tied for first place in the conference after North Carolina’s blowout over Boston College Tuesday night.

Maryland must rely on its defense to contain the sharpshooting Blue Devils and should be up to the task on paper. The Terps rank ninth in the nation in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 38.2 percent shooting this season. Duke leads the ACC in scoring offense, field goals, 3-point field goals, free throws, and turnover margin.

To pull off the upset, the Terps will need another huge performance by sophomore Jordan Williams, who scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the teams’ first meeting in Durham. Seniors Kyle Singler (25 points) and Nolan Smith (18 points) led the way for the Blue Devils.

Of course, last season’s meeting in College Park was a classic as Maryland prevailed 79-72 and the teams shared the regular season conference championship. The Terps are 4-4 against the Blue Devils in the brief history of the nine-year old Comcast Center. Maryland is 37-38 all-time in College Park against Duke.

Tonight’s game will be televised on ESPN with Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas calling the action. Join us in the Turtle Power live chat beginning at 9:00 as I bring live updates from College Park. Remember to follow us on Twitter for the quickest updates and analysis throughout the evening.