Duke Blue Devils vs. Maryland Terrapins Cardinals College Basketball Preview
Date/Time: February 16, 6:00 pm EST
College Basketball Gambling Odds from Bookmaker
College Basketball Betting Favorite: Duke -5.5
The Duke Blue Devils escaped a strong effort from North Carolina earlier this week at home. Now, they must travel to take on another team that they don’t like one bit. The Maryland Terrapins always seem to give Duke their best effort. Maryland started the year on a roll, but they have been cold of late. Can they make it difficult on the Blue Devils on Saturday in front of their fans in College Park?
The Duke Blue Devils have had some very narrow escapes of late. They only won by a point at Boston College, and they were outplayed for most of the game against North Carolina. This team clearly missed Ryan Kelly pretty badly, but they have enough offensive firepower to be very good even without him. Seth Curry is one of the best pure shooters in the game. Quinn Cook is one of the most improved players in the country. Mason Plumlee is a candidate for National Player of the Year. Plumlee is averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds per game. He has improved in every facet of the game.
Duke has five regular players who shoot 36 percent or better from beyond the three-point line. As a team, the Blue Devils knock down 41 percent from behind the arc. One big reason for Duke’s improvement this year has been their high quality defense. Last year’s team never was able to shut down the opponent, but this year the Blue Devils only allow opponents to shoot 40.8 percent from the floor.
Maryland is 17-7 overall, but they have lost 6 of their last 10 games. The Terrapins were beaten by 11 at home in their last outing against the Virginia Cavaliers. Virginia isn’t normally a high scoring team, but they put up 80 points on the Terrapins. Maryland’s defense has been very good for the majority of the year, but they have slacked off a bit in the last couple games. Alex Len averages 2 blocks per game, and he alters a ton of shots. He’ll need to be very active in the paint if Maryland is going to win this game. Len is highly thought of by NBA scouts, but he does disappear at times. This can’t be one of those games where he just blends in with the rest of the team.
While Duke has an abundance of shooters, the Terrapins have had trouble finding anyone who can consistently knock down the three-point jumper. Because of this, opponents have started to collapse even more on the Terrapins in the paint. Dezmine Wells, a transfer from Xavier, is the team’s best offensive player on the perimeter. He averages 12 points per game and shoots 54 percent from the floor. Maryland is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the nation, and they’ll need to get second chance opportunities to keep up with Duke in this contest.
Free Pick: Maryland +5.5
Duke hasn’t been playing very well on the road, and Maryland should be ready for this game. Look for this one to go down to the wire. Take the home underdog and the points.
Duke 71 Maryland 68
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