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Next Up - Maryland

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Next up for Duke is Maryland and as always, the Terps come to Cameron with a chip on their shoulder.  And in case you don't think they can do it, it's worth remembering that Maryland under Gary Williams has beaten  seven #1 teams.   It'd be foolish to think that they couldn't do it again.

Maryland has one of the best weapons in the ACC in 6-11 center Jordan Williams, who has become a dominant player as a sophomore.   Moreover, he has  sculpted his body and become a much better athlete.

He's averaging around six minutes more per game this season, and he's nearly doubled his scoring average and is rebounding about a third more than last year.  He's  also the fourth leading rebounder nationally.  And he's shooting better - .576 to .512.

Post play is not a problem for Maryland and the Plumlees had better be ready because Williams will bring it.

If you value players by minutes played, the next most valuable player for Maryland is senior Dino Gregory.  His numbers aren't huge -- almost eight points per game and six rebounds per game -- but he is a reasonable athlete and a senior. Odds are he's not going to hurt Maryland too much and could help a great deal.

After those two, Maryland can turn to experience with  Sean Mosley (junior), Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie (seniors).  All three are solid and smart players and all three buy into Gary Williams' defense.

Sophomore James Padgett has yet to live up to his high school  reputation and is only pulling 11 minutes per game.

One of Maryland's problem has been guard play and this is partly because they been forced to rely on freshmen Terrel  Stoglin  and Pe'Shon Howard.  Freshman guards have a tough time in the ACC and particularly in Cameron. It's very hard to prepare for.

One other area where they're not doing so well is free throws: the Terps are hitting 64.8% compared to Duke's 75.3%.

And their three point shooting isn't that great and doesn't happen that much -- they have taken 178 and hit 62 for 34.8%.  Duke's taken a lot more - 126 more (304 for 43.8%) and hit 133.

If you add in defense to the formula -- and both teams will really get after it, of course -- you have the basic parameters: Duke has to stop Williams inside and Maryland has to match Duke's guard play. Then of course there's Kyle Singler.

It's strange to get this far into a preview without mentioning Singler.

Lately, Nolan Smith's play has been remarkable and Singler to an extent has been overshadowed which in itself is remarkable.

He hasn't gone anywhere however, and is a disruptive force on both ends of the court. As much as anyone who's been through Duke since Christian Laettner, Singler is immensely competitive. You can count on that to continue.

If we had to guess, our hunch is that a key player in this game will be Mason Plumlee. Miles has been the better Plumlee lately, but we have all seen glimpses of just how good Mason can be.

If MP1 or MP2, individually or collectively, can counter Williams, Duke will be in a solid position. And if they can pressure Maryland's backcourt, so much the better.

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