Quick, does anyone have any Shaolin tapes? Plug them in and let Battier watch
for a bit!
Duke and Maryland have built one of the best rivalries in the '90s and it
looks to roll on into the Naughty aughties.Â Hey, the decade needs a name,
and at DBR, we are more than willing to provide the public service, even when we
don't know how to spell the word.
Last year, Duke pretty much wrecked Maryland's season, trashing them twice,
the first time wounding their confidence, the second time shredding what was
left after Batttier erupted after seeting a
Shaolin show.Â It's hard to believe now that at the beginning of the year they were
being talked about in the same breath as UCLA of old, but they looked pretty
Of course, so did Duke, and both teams were stopped.Â And neither team
is the same as they were last year, but so far, Duke has done a better job of
adjusting to massive losses than Maryland, though Maryland has done pretty well
and may in fact win the game on Sunday.
They start with Terrence Morris, of course,Â who is a superb all-round
player. Then they have Lonnie Baxter, who has improved a great deal and, having
had a lousy game at State will want to redeem himself.Â Â Â Danny
Miller has moved into the starting lineup, as has Juan Dixon and freshman Steve
Blake.Â These are all pretty good guys, as are the subs, and so it's harder
to dislike Maryland than it used to be.Â On the other hand, Gary Williams
might get two techs in the first minute again and be gone.Â Â
It's an interesting matchup in a lot of ways - Boozer and Baxter match up
well, as do Battier and Morris.Â C-well or JamesÂ should also match up
well with Miller, and one of them will guard Juan Dixon.Â That leaves Jason
Williams on Steve Blake.Â Â
Those are all pretty good individual matchups for Duke. Perhaps the key is
Baxter-Boozer. Both young, thick big men with rising stock, they both had
sub-par games last time out.
C-well and Battier are always solid defensively, and James isn't far
behind.Â The other key matchup to us, then, is the battle of the freshmen
Jason has shown a propensity so far to bounce back from less than ideal
performances, and we're sure Coach K and the staff have been working on him
industriously since Charlottesville. And in fact Jason turned his game around.
After being abused by the older Donald Hand for much of the game, Williams was
superb at the end and in OT.
Another factor worth mentioning is bench play. Against NC State, Maryland got
almost nothing from the bench.Â Part of the credit goes to Herb Sendek's
defense, which is smothering and more so now that he has some serious talent to
work with.Â Â But still the production was lousy.Â
In Duke's case, they have Dunleavy, Christensen, Horvath, and an improving
Sanders, but aren't much deeper.Â
When we look at the defensive and coaching matchups, rationally we think it
favors Duke, but this is the ACC, and this is the year when everyone is sick of
Duke (witness the premature celebrating at U-Hall the other night), and so
everyone is going to come at them with all guns blazing.Â Â
Should be a great one, but we wouldn't bet a nickel either way.