Preview: Maryland faces Duke for final time in ACC play

Preview: Maryland faces Duke for final time in ACC play
February 15, 2014, 9:00 am
Share This Post
(Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports)

VITALS

Date: 15 February 2014

Time: 6 p.m.

Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.

Television: ESPN

Spread: Duke (-14)

FAST BREAK PREVIEW

For the final time as part of regular-season ACC play, Duke and Maryland will meet on Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham. With it, the book closes on the storied rivalry between the two programs.

Preview it all below.

[RELATED: Former Terps coach now Hall of Fame finalist]

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Duke’s Jabari Parker vs. Maryland’s defense

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon told the media on Friday that his team would throw multiple looks at Parker and his running mate, Rodney Hood. Why? Because the likely ACC Freshman of the Year is a versatile scorer and requires such attention.

What’s the key to stopping him? The answer is in a five-game stretch at the turn of the new year.

During that time, Parker averaged 10.8 points per game, far below his average on the year of greater than 19. That stretch was one in which Parker was prone to settling for jumpshots, taking away the toolbox of skills he has when attacking the basket, drawing contact, and the like.

So on Saturday, Nick Faust, Jake Layman, Dez Wells, or any combination thereof needs to keep Parker out of the paint. Force him to shoot from the outside. It’s not that he’s a poor perimeter shooter, but more that if you hope to contain him, that’s your best bet.

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Dez Wells, guard

These are the types of games Wells came to Maryland to play. Last time out against Duke, he dropped 30 points and led Maryland to an upset win in the ACC tournament. Maryland will need the same kind of effort on Saturday.

Maryland’s offense has a tendency to stagnate and Wells can be the catalyst to keep it rolling. With a crowd that will be undoubtedly be raucous, Wells will need to balance the desire to keep the offense spread out with the reality that he is the team’s best scoring option when they need points fast.

Getting to the line should be a priority. Get Duke into foul trouble and it will only help.

DUKE PLAYER TO WATCH

Rodney Hood, forward

With everything that Parker has done, it’s not hard to forget that Hood is averaging 16.5 points per game and shooting 45 percent from three. That second part is what Maryland needs to realize most.

This game can get out of hand quickly if, out of the gate, Maryland is slow closing out on the perimeter and allowing Hood and others to get open. Oh, but there’s another problem. Cheat out too much and Hood is willing to drive the ball and draw contact, shooting 83 percent from the line.

This team will score and will score a lot, thanks to Hood and Parker. The focus ought to be containment.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

It’s the final time. It’s that simple. The storyline is there. The broadcast will mention it endlessly and will roll old footage of Bias and Blake and Dixon and Williams. There will be “A-C-C!” chants and likely much worse chanted at Cameron Indoor on Saturday.

But, as Maryland special assistant Juan Dixon said on Friday to the media, Maryland is “playing for [its] season” beyond anything else. On what is a weak postseason resume, a win against a Top 10 team is what Maryland needs if it hopes to salvage what is left down the stretch.

More Team Talk