NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
Duke is coming off a thrilling victory over rival North Carolina. The Blue Devils trailed by 10-12 points almost the entire second half before winning the game on an Austin Rivers three-pointer as time expired. It was just another chapter in the great Duke vs. Carolina rivalry. Coach K and his team return home to take on a much improved Maryland team. They can’t afford a letdown in this one.
Mark Turgeon is doing a nice job with this Maryland Terrapins team. This is a young team that looked lost in the first few months of the year, but they have come up with some nice performances of late. Maryland was very competitive with both Duke and North Carolina at home, though they did lose both of those games. The Terrapins picked up their first road win of the year earlier this week in a win at Clemson. This one will be a real test for this young Terrapins team.
Terrell Stoglin is the undisputed leader of this team. Stoglin averages 22 points per game. He is very aggressive, and gets to the free throw line quite often. Sean Mosley is a senior who does a lot of little things to help this team win games. Alex Len has only played in 13 games so far this year, but he is a rookie with a lot of potential. Len is a great shot blocker, and he helps this team immensely on the defensive end. Maryland shot just 11 out of 21 from the line in their home loss to Duke last game.
Austin Rivers has been questioned at times this season, but no one was questioning him after the North Carolina game. Rivers showed why many thought he was the top recruit in the country coming into this year. At times this year he has struggled with the team concept, but his individual skills are unmistakable. It will be interesting to see if the North Carolina game will give Rivers even more confidence moving forward. It would be tough to find another team with as many outside shooters as Duke. Seth Curry, Austin Rivers, Ryan Kelly, Andre Dawkins, and Tyler Thornton all shoot 38% or better from beyond the arc.
When Duke has struggled this year it has been because of their defense. On the season, Duke is giving up 70 points per game. Opponents are shooting 44.1% from the floor. The Blue Devils have the Plumlee brothers in the post, but there really isn’t much depth at all behind them. Too often this year the opposition has gotten to the basket against Duke’s man defense.
The Blue Devils have lost two of their last three at Cameron Indoor Stadium, but that isn’t going to make me pick them to lose here. Look for a slow start out of Duke, but I think they’ll pull away as the game moves along.
Prediction: Duke 81 Maryland 68
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