clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Carlos Previews Maryland!

Duke heads up to College Park this Saturday for it’s first
big ACC road game. The Blue Devils are currently sitting atop the ACC standings
in a tie with the Tar Heels. But just one step behind both teams are the
Maryland Terrapins with only a single blemish on their league record – a
3-point home loss to the Heels back on January 10.

The Terps appear to have regrouped after a shaky start to the
season. Things began to unravel for Gary Williams’ squad on a disastrous trip
to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational where the team dropped two out of three
games. The skid continued when the team returned to the mainland for the ACC/Big
10 Challenge where they dropped a close road game to the offensively-challenged
Wisconsin Badgers. At that point the Terps were able to right the ship and,
owing partly to an atypically soft schedule, the team ran off a string of 10
straight victories before falling to the Heels.

In addition to their conference schedules, Duke and Maryland
have faced off against two common out-of-conference foes – Illinois and
Michigan. The results of those games lead one to expect a close contest in
College Park.

OPPONENT

DUKE

MARYLAND

Illinois

78 – 77 (N)

80 – 90 (N)

Michigan

104 – 61 (H)

82 – 51 (A)

Clemson

115 – 74 (H)

104 – 92 (A)

Georgia Tech

98 – 77 (A)

93 – 80 (H)

Florida State

99 – 72 (A)

76 – 55 (A)

Wake Forest

85 – 62 (H)

81 – 71 (H)

NC State

84 – 78 (A)

75 – 61 (A)

A = Away, H = Home, N = Neutral

The Terps have had nearly an entire week off to prepare for
this game. That can be a mixed blessing for a team like Maryland that was
playing good ball in recent contests. On one hand the team has extra time to
prepare for the game. On the other hand that’s also an extra week to lose
their edge. Then there’s also the impact of an entire week of Gary Williams
turning up the pressure cooker. It’s hard to tell what to expect from the
Terps.

What the Devils are hoping to see from Maryland would be a
team that looked more like the squad they defeated at Cole last year or in the
ACC Tournament. The team they don’t want to show up is the one that faced them
in Cameron, snapping Duke’s 31 game ACC winning streak and their 46 game home
court win streak. There was no doubt from early in the game which team was
sharper that evening as the Terps forced 20 turnovers out of the Devils to power
their way to an 11-point victory. Duke was able to extract a measure of sweet
revenge on the Turtles in the ACC Championship game. Duke held Maryland to less
than 40% from the field and outscored them by 12 points from the free throw
line, the latter being a statistic that was particularly vexing to Maryland’s
Williams.

While Maryland has enjoyed the week off in preparation for the
game, the Blue Devils are now in the middle of a tough three game stretch
against the upper tier of the conference. The stretch started well as the Devils
ground out a 23-point home victory over the ninth ranked Wake Forest Demon
Deacons. The game was much closer than the score would indicate and the Deacs
were playing without their best player, Josh Howard. The same flu bug that
sidelined Howard also reportedly slowed their second best player, Darius
Songaila. (Note to Dave Odom: Schedule flu shots next year.)

Even more problematic for Wake was the continued slump of
Robert O’Kelley who has gone from being the ACC Rookie of the Year to being
the guy that opposing fans now encourage to shoot. For the game, O’Kelley shot
2-8 from the floor, 2-4 from the line, and 0-1 from three-point range. That last
stat now leaves him with one basket in his last 18 three-point attempts.

Still, despite the problems with the Deacon team, it took a
sound effort from Duke to win the game. The Devils forced 19 turnovers from the
ACC’s best ballhandling team and had a rare night where they out-rebounded an
opponent (34-30). Duke also limited their own turnovers to just 10 for the game
and had another night where the "big three" carried the team. The
"big three" for Duke this year have been Williams, Battier, and anyone
of the other guys. One night that could be Boozer, the next night it could be
James, or – as in the case against Wake – it could be Dunleavy.

Saturday will be a night where Duke will need more than just
big performances out of three players. The teams played three very close games
last year with the margin of victory never greater than the 13-point difference
in the ACC title game. The two teams are pretty much exactly the same except for
two changes – Duke lost ACC Player of the Year, Chris Carrawell and Maryland
added a much-traveled scorer who brings athleticism to the small forward spot.

BACKCOURT

Juan Dixon has no right to be this damn good. Dixon is 6-3 and
152 lbs. and that’s with rocks in his pockets. He’s got the kind of body you
get when you leave Casey Sanders in the dryer too long. Yet if Allen Iverson can
be a star in the pros at 6-0 and 160 lbs., there’s no reason why Dixon can’t
do the same in the ACC at his size.

If people question Dixon’s size they can’t question his
fortitude. Dixon has one of the most tragic backgrounds of any guy you’ll ever
hear about having lost both of his parents when he was a sophomore in high
school. Both parents were heroin addicts and spent stints in jail before finally
succumbing to AIDS. Out of that tragic background a family bond was formed
between Dixon and his older brother Phil, a great player in his own right. Phil
Dixon played high school ball with Clemson star Devin Gray before going to tiny
Shenandoah University where he was a Division III conference Player of the Year
– twice.

Juan Dixon has the potential to duplicate his brother’s
achievements on a grander scale. After playing a limited role as a freshman he
emerged as first team All-ACC selection last year. If Dixon garnered an
unusually high number of votes from Durham area writers it was probably the
result of his performance in Maryland’s win in Cameron. Dixon wasn’t just
good that night he was sublime. He was 14-19 from the field and finished with 31
points.

Dixon’s performance that evening was illustrative of one of
the more interesting things about his game. Despite his slight frame and
relatively short size for a two guard, Dixon is extremely effective in the lane.
That evening he only attempted one three-point attempt, which he missed. It’s
not that Dixon’s a bad three-point shooter. In fact he’s actually a very
good shooter from long range as his 43% accuracy this year indicates. But he is
masterful at taking the ball into traffic and getting his shot off against
bigger defenders. He’s also waaaay too good a rebounder for a man his size. To
make matters worse for opponents there is no let up with Dixon on the other side
of the ball. He’s one of the league’s best defenders and was a first team
ACC All-Defense selection last year. This year he leads the league in steals and
is especially dangerous in Williams’ high-pressure defense.

Sharing the backcourt with Dixon is sophomore Steve Blake
(6-3/175) who is familiar to several members of the Duke team. Blake was a
teammate of Jason Williams and Michael Dunleavy on last summer’s World
Championship for Young Men Qualifying Team. Fortunately for Dunleavy they opted
to go with USA Basketball on the jersey rather than World Championship for Young
Men Qualifying Team. The Maryland point guard spent much of the summer as a
backup to Williams who led the team in points and assists.

The matchup between Blake and Williams last year was fairly
close, at least in the early going. In the first game Blake was clearly the
better player, outscoring Williams 12 to 6 and dishing out 8 assists to
Williams’ 5. By the second contest things were more in Williams’ favor as he
posted 9 points and 10 assists to Blake’s totals of 7 and 2. Still, Williams
was loose with the ball and as a result committed 7 turnovers to just 2 for
Blake. But by the end of the season, in the ACC Championship game, the story was
clearly Williams who gave his parents an additional piece of carry-on baggage
for the trip home – the Tournament MVP trophy. Williams’ finished the game
with 23 points and 6 assists compared to Blake’s totals of 7 and 3.

On a Terp team loaded with quality scorers Blake has different
responsibilities than Williams. The primary thing Gary Williams needs out of
Blake is to run the team and distribute the ball. In that regard, Blake has been
outstanding this year. He is tied for the league lead in assists at 6.7 per game
and carries an impressive 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. He doesn’t shoot the
ball all that much (4.6 attempts per game) but is a reasonably good shooter from
long range (34.5%). On the negative side though, he is not a very good free
throw shooter (55%) which could be detrimental to the Terps in a close game as
he is their primary ballhandler. When the game is on the line though, the Terps
are more likely to give the ball to Dixon, who at 90% is the best free throw
shooter in the league.

Defensively Blake is second on the team in steals although
most of those come in the full court, pressing defense the team plays. Blake and
Maryland haven’t face too many great point guards this season but they did
give up 21 points to Illinois’ Frank Williams. It’s also worth noting that
Georgia Tech’s Tony Atkins was able to post 20 points against Blake, mostly on
the strength of 4 baskets from three-point range.

Maryland is a deep team and when Williams turns to his bench
he has a number of options. The guy seeing the most minutes in the backcourt is
sophomore guard Drew Nicholas. Nicholas arrived at Maryland as primarily a
shooting guard who backed up Dixon. He’s about the same size as Dixon too –
6-3 and 165 lbs. This year though, Nicholas has earned more playing time by
being more versatile and playing some backup point guard. When he’s at the
point he’s a good distributor (2.28 assist-to-turnover ratio) but can still
provide the Terps with additional backcourt scoring punch. Nicholas leads the
team in three-point shooting accuracy at 49%, although he’s only taking about
3 shots a game.

For Duke the backcourt story begins with Jason Williams who
continues to grow in all facets of his game. His latest outing against Wake
Forest was as statistically dominating as any of his great games this season.
For the record it was 27 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals and just a
total control of the game as Duke pulled away in the second half. Williams was
essential to the Duke offense and played inspirationally on an injured foot that
was the subject of wild internet rumors earlier in the day.

The matchup against Blake carries deep symbolism when watching
the development of Williams. Last year, in his first full year of playing point
guard at any level, he was prone to letting his emotions take control of him at
times. In that first game at Maryland, Williams clearly became wrapped up in an
individual contest with Blake, often trying to beat him in a one-on-one battle.
This year Williams has matured as a point guard and leader and, with relatively
few exceptions, has focused his highly competitive nature into positive play for
the team.

Blake is a sound defensive player but it takes a very special
defensive player to contain Williams. How effective he is at that task is will
go a long way in determining if Maryland can stay in a man-to-man defense or if
they need to drop into a zone defense. Maryland may elect to defend Williams
with another player but if they do, Duke’s size will give them matchup
problems at the other positions. If they have to abandon their man defense, look
for their 3-2 zone with Terrance Morris at the point.

The task of stopping Duke’s backcourt star will start with
Blake. But the task of stopping the Terrapins backcourt star will fall to Nate
James. At 6-6, James has the size that will give Dixon some trouble but the big
challenge for James will be dealing with Dixon’s quickness. James may have an
easier time of stopping Dixon than under normal circumstances as the Maryland
star was ineffective in their last game due to a bruised tailbone. Gary Williams
explained that the injury occurred in practice when Dixon was trying to draw a
charge but I’m not ruling out it being the result of Gary’s Cole-Haan
motivational tool.

James has done an admirable job on defense this year, holding
Georgia Tech’s Shaun Fein to 11 points, NC State’s Anthony Grundy to 18
points (on 17 field goal attempts), and Clemson’s Will Solomon to 13 points.
He will need that kind of effort and more against Dixon who is a better scorer
than any of those players. If James is unable to contend with Dixon’s
quickness and ability to get into the lane, Krzyzewski may turn to freshman
Chris Duhon. At 6-3, Duhon is not as big as James but is exceptionally quick on
defense and is terrific at ball denial. However, Duhon is still a freshman,
albeit a very talented freshman, and he had some difficulties with Wake’s
Broderick Hicks who was able to get Duhon to leave his feet with pump fakes on
several occasions.

Offensively both James and Duhon have struggled somewhat at
times this season. For Duhon it has been a season long struggle, at least with
shooting the ball. On the other hand he’s averaging 5.4 assists per game so
while he may not be shooting at the level predicted by recruiting gurus, he is
still making a major contribution to the offense. For James the slump has been
over the last three games where he has averaged just 6.7 points a game after a
stretch where he was averaging 18 points over the previous 4 games. Part of that
may be attributable to a decline in James’ production on the offensive glass
where he has just 2 rebounds over those last three games.

FRONTCOURT

Terrance Morris is the most laid-back, smooth superstar in the
ACC. Gary Williams is the most intense coach in the ACC. The only pairing this
weekend that will be more diverse will be in the Super Bowl halftime show where
someone decided that Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Britney Spears would make a
good team. Yet somehow Morris and Williams are able to survive together,
something I would confidently predict for Tyler and Spears.

Like Duke’s Shane Battier, Morris is a versatile power
forward who can score from all over the floor. In fact, the 6-9 Morris has been
compared with Battier for most of his career. In reality, his production this
year (with the exception of his rebounding and blocked shots) has been more in
line with that of Nate James – Morris is averaging 14.2 points, 7.3 rebounds,
and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 46% from the field and 35% from three.

The one knock Morris always hears is that he may be too
laid-back. Dixon and Lonny Baxter have supplanted him as the team’s leading
option. But the other side of that is that he plays well within the offense and
when the time comes that his team needs him he always rises to the occasion.
Duke fans questioning his talent and drive may wish to recall the moment they
chanted "Over-rated" at him in the game in Cameron last year. 3
minutes and 11 points later nobody was wondering if he was over-rated. In
addition to his offensive talents he’s also one of the better shot-blockers in
the league.

Nobody has ever used the words "laid-back" or
"smooth" to describe Morris’ frontcourt teammate, Baxter. Baxter
arrived at Maryland relatively unheralded after prepping for a year at Hargrave
Military Academy. At Hargrave he played alongside Korleone Young whose career
has slipped away into that netherworld where Robert O’Kelley’s shot is
currently residing. At 6-8, 250 lbs., Baxter is another of the ACC’s
undersized but strong centers like Virginia’s Travis Watson and Duke’s
Carlos Boozer.

Baxter’s career started off with little playing time as he
sat on the Terp bench behind senior Obinna Ekezie. However, when Ekezie went
down with an injury Baxter was there to capitalize on the opportunity and has
been a fixture in the Maryland lineup ever since. He’s worked hard in his time
at Maryland and has lost some of the extra pounds he was carrying in his first
two years and replaced it with a leaner, more muscular body. Baxter is
surprisingly agile for a man his size and is very active around the basket. He
leads the team with nearly 3 offensive rebounds per game and is a strong
finisher down low. He uses his bulk well to protect the ball down low where he
shoots a series of half-hooks that could accurately be described as a throw at
the basket except that they tend to go into the basket at too great a frequency
to be chance.

Defensively Baxter can use his size to push opponents away
from the basket and limit their effectiveness. He is also the most foul-prone
member of the team and has picked up at least 4 fouls in each of his ACC games
this season and fouled out of the North Carolina game. He can also draw as many
fouls as he commits and like the Boozer / Songaila matchup from Duke’s last
game, the frontcourt foul count will be a big factor in this game (like every
Duke game).

The other member of the Terp frontcourt is Byron Mouton who
has finally made it to the ACC after a brief tour of duty with Tulane where he
was one of 52 scholarship players splitting playing time each game. Mouton was
originally considering NC State before he signed with Tulane. This will mark the
second Green Wave transfer Duke has faced this year as Texas star Chris Owens
played with Mouton for a year at Tulane. Ironically, Owens left because he
reportedly had personality problems with Mouton and felt that the coaches
catered to him too much. The next year Mouton left because (reportedly) his
relationship with Coach Perry Clark had fallen apart. Of course the next year
Clark himself left to take the Miami job.

At Tulane, Mouton wasn’t encumbered with the burden of a
conscience when it came to shot selection. Much of that was due to the dearth of
talent surrounding him and in his time at Maryland he’s not pulling the
trigger as often. He’s also taking different shots. At Tulane nearly 48% of
his shot attempts came from beyond the three-point line where he had limited
effectiveness (32.5%). With Maryland he’s shooting just 19% of his attempts
from deep. That change in his game has made him a better shooter all around as
his three-point percentage is up to 43% and his total field goal percentage is
up to 55% from 37%

However, Mouton has been struggling some as of late and his
field goal percentage in ACC games since their opener against Clemson is just
33%. When he’s on his game, Mouton is a slasher who can take his man off the
dribble. He also is aggressive on the offensive boards but at 6-6 can have
difficulty finishing near the basket on occasion. For the season he is the Terps
fourth leading scorer at 11.7 ppg.

The Maryland depth is really found in their frontcourt. Last
year Danny Miller started every game for the Terps. This year he has been taken
out of the starting lineup in favor of Mouton but he’s still seeing plenty of
minutes. The 6-8 wing man was once a target of Duke’s but opted to go with
Maryland instead, marking one of the few head-to-head recruiting battles that
Williams has been able to win over Krzyzewski. Miller is a poor man’s version
of Duke’s Michael Dunleavy. He does many of the things that Dunleavy does, but
not as well. He is a versatile player who can play the off guard when Williams
wants to go with a bigger team. He shoots the ball well, but not exceptional,
from the outside and is a reasonably good rebounder and passer.

Maryland can also go to two big bodies off the bench with Tahj
Holden and Mike Mardesich. Holden is a 6-10 sophomore who has bulked up to
around 240 lbs. since his arrival in College Park. He’s missed a great portion
of the season after fracturing a bone in his foot in and early December practice
and just returned to the lineup two games ago. Holden is a unique player who has
the kind of size to be effective in the pivot but can also hit the three point
shot.

Mardesich is the biggest player on the Terrapin roster. At
7-0/255 lbs. he’s a sizeable player who has a soft touch around the basket.
He’s not the most mobile player on the team but makes up for his lack of foot
speed with his good size. Many Maryland fans wouldn’t mind seeing
Mardesich’s playing time diminished in favor of promising freshman Chris
Wilcox out of Raleigh. The 6-10 freshman is going to be a very good player for
Maryland but Williams, whose loyalty to Terrell Stokes used to drive fans
insane, is bringing him along slowly.

For Duke, the frontline rotation is considerably shorter,
which is one of the key elements of this, and every, Duke game. Duke’s
starting frontcourt of Boozer, Battier, and Dunleavy is as good as any in the
nation, despite the unconventional style of play. The drop off in talent after
the starters is significant and they need to spend as much time on the floor as
possible in big games. Perhaps the most critical of those players is Boozer who
will face off against Baxter in the post. At 6-9/270 lbs., Boozer has the
strength to hold his position against Baxter, although the Duke offense rarely
goes to him through a traditional entry pass. Boozer’s points near the basket
are more often the result of penetration from the Duke perimeter players, most
notably Williams.

Boozer has played well in the Duke wins over Maryland. In the
first win he had 17 points and 1 rebounds and in the second, the ACC title game,
he had 21 points and 4 rebounds. In those two games Baxter was held to 14 points
/ 16 rebounds and 10 points / 8 rebounds. In the Duke loss however, Baxter went
off for 22 points / 10 rebounds while Boozer’s production was just 6 points /
6 rebounds. Clearly, for Duke to have their best chance at winning this game,
they need a solid performance out of Boozer.

Boozer’s last outing against Darius Songaila was encouraging
for Blue Devil fans, as he was able to avoid foul difficulty for much of the
second half. After picking up his third foul early in the second half, Boozer
played the rest of the game without any additional fouls. During that time he
was still able to play sound interior defense against Songaila partly because of
the assistance from Battier who doubled off Josh Shoemaker to help defend the
post. Battier won’t be able to get away with that as easily against the Terps
if he is guarding Morris who is a legitimate outside threat.

Battier has always been able to defend Morris reasonably well
while at the same time scoring his share of points. This year Battier is playing
better than ever before and continues to showcase his entire offensive arsenal.
He’ll need that against Morris who has the size and quickness to matchup
better with Battier than any other player in the league.

One wrinkle that Duke could potentially use on defense against
the Terps is to defend Morris with Dunleavy. At 6-9, Dunleavy would have the
size to check Morris, at least on the perimeter. Inside that matchup would favor
Morris who could probably muscle Dunleavy around. But those defensive
assignments would also allow Battier a little more freedom on defense to provide
held as Mouton, while a better shooter on paper than Morris, is a guy that
isn’t nearly as active from the outside. In ACC play, Mouton is has taken just
9 three-point shots, converting on 3.

If the Devils play straight up defensive assignments with
Dunleavy on Mouton the Terp forward may be able to get to the basket. For
Dunleavy, the key is his overplaying and ball denial on defense where his long
arms allow him to pick up a lot of steals. Offensively, Dunleavy’s performance
in the Wake Forest game was a welcome sight for Duke as the sophomore snapped
out of a two-game slump that culminated in one of his worst collegiate
performances in the game against Georgia Tech. Against Wake though, Dunleavy was
back to his old self with a well rounded outing that featured 21 points, 7
rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocked shots. Even better was his 7-12
shooting from the field and 3-4 shooting from the three-point line.

Rolling Thunder – here comes Matt Christensen. I guarantee
you that you’ll see Christensen’s steal and then full court dash to the
other end for a slam dunk at least once at this year’s basketball banquet and
most likely at next year’s as well. One could say that it was just one play,
but it is very symbolic of the growth in Christensen’s confidence. Developing
additional depth was one of the biggest challenges facing the Devils this year
and with the losses of Horvath and Sweet the increased productivity out of
Christensen has been just as important to the team as the minutes from any of
the starters. The 6-10 junior is the only reliable frontcourt reserve on the
team at this point. His ability to give the team at least 10 minutes without
fouling out has allowed Boozer to become more productive.

OUTLOOK

If you’re Gary Williams (yell at an inanimate object here if
it helps, turn up the heat and sweat also to complete the effect) the questions
you’re asking yourself this week were-

To press or not to press?

Man or zone?

Normally Williams’ teams play a frantic press or a ¾ quart
trap that forces turnovers and lets them blitz opponents off the court. On those
rare times their opponents get the ball over halfcourt the Terps will drop into
a man defense, much like Duke.

However, in the past Krzyzewski’s teams, which usually
feature several good ballhandlers, have fared well against the Maryland defense.
Over the years Krzyzewski is an amazing 21-3 against Williams and those figures
have made the Maryland coach rethink some of his approaches against Duke.
Despite the Duke success against the presses and traps, Williams may still be
tempted to attack Duke in that manner. The Terps have a distinct advantage over
Duke in terms of depth and if they can force the tempo they may be able to run
the Devils into fatigue late in the game. The key to all of that is that you
have to make it to late in the game against Duke who typically play their best
in an up-tempo game.

Maryland may play that 3-2 zone extensively in this game. With
Morris at the point of the zone they do give up some of their rebounding
strength but they are also able to effectively limit the ball rotation on the
perimeter, making it tougher to get the ball to open shooters on the outside.
However, there are certain limitations to the zone.

One way to attack a 3-2 is to overload the baseline. Starting
with three guys on the outside the offense can run a corner shooter from the
wing position to the opposite corner which overloads the defense. James is
particularly good with that deep corner shot and he should get a lot of open
looks with that play. We can also do the same thing with Jason Williams who has
just been murdering people from the deep corner on the old out-of-bounds play we
used to run with Trajan where the guy throwing the ball inbounds runs to the
corner for the open shot.

If the defense reacts (which they will) and starts following
the cutter through the lane or uses their post defenders to step out to the
corners then the offense can make adjustments. If the post defenders step out it
will open up the inside for entry passes to the post who can either shoot it or
look to the weak-side post if the defense doesn’t rotate quickly enough.

The other means of attacking the 3-2 is to get a guy in the
middle, which will force the defense to collapses. This opens up the perimeter
for relocation passes or cuts by the wing players to the basket. Boozer could be
especially effective in that position as he has a nice touch from 10 feet and
can also pass the ball well. If Maryland tries to push the Duke perimeter
shooters out too far and over-extends their zone the inside could be vulnerable.

Attacking the inside can also be accomplished through dribble
penetration and Duke has the best guy in college ball for that job. If Jason
Williams can get into the lane then all sorts of good things happen for Duke.
The same can be said if Maryland decides to play a man defense. Again, the key
would be Williams who showed his dominance against the Demon Deacons and could
be difficult for the Terps to stop. If Blake has troubles containing Williams
the Terps may run different defenders at him. Dixon and Nicholas may also see
some time defending Williams.

When the Terps are in a man defense either Dunleavy or James
should have a size advantage over their defender. Against Wake, Dunleavy
repeatedly took the smaller Hicks or O’Kelley inside where he was able to
score over them with ease. The Terps will usually have Dixon and a point guard
in the game at the same time – Dixon plays 29 minutes a game and against ACC
competition that number increases. That means that either Dixon or one of their
point guards will be forced to defend on of the bigger Duke players.

For Duke on defense the first priority must be to make Juan
Dixon work for his shots. Dixon will often appear to force some shots but you
can’t really call them a force when they go in. As was the case with Solomon,
the Duke defense will want to make Dixon’s shots-to-point ratio as close to 1
to 1 as possible. That task was easier against Solomon who doesn’t have as
many offensive threats surrounding him as Dixon. When Solomon drove into the
lane the Duke defense was able to collapse against him and force him to kick it
to a teammate. With Clemson that means kicking the ball to Adam Allenspach. With
Maryland it means kicking the ball to Terrance Morris. I know which one I’d
rather choose.

The other area of concern is with Baxter and how they can
double down on him without sacrificing too much on defending the other
Terrapins. Boozer’s ability to defend without fouling is important, as the
team will need him on the offensive end of the court. The defensive pressure
Williams and Duhon are able to put on the ball will help minimize the number of
looks Baxter can get but when he does get the ball he is adept at drawing fouls.

Maryland at Cole is the toughest road game this team has faced
all year. Fortunately for the Devils, they are an experienced team that has been
in many tough games together. Against a rested and prepared Terp team they’ll
need to draw on all of that experience.