Duke and Maryland are similar in many ways. The Blue Devils essentially operate with a four-guard lineup, they aim to create intense ball pressure and they are a perimeter-oriented team. The difference, so far, has been that Duke runs much more efficiently on both ends of the court than do the Terps.
The Blue Devils (17-1, 4-0 ACC) rank first in the conference in scoring defense, allowing opponents to score an average of 60.3 points per game. They rank third in scoring offense, totalling an average of 80.1 points per game.
Sophomore forward Kyle Singler (6-foot-8, 235 lbs.) leads the way for Duke, averaging a team-high 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He also averages a team-high 3.0 assists per game and shoots 47.3 percent from the field.
Though listed as a forward, Singler is most effective out on the wing. He's not the type to set up in the post and back down an opponent. Rather, he would prefer to gather open looks off screens away from the basket.
The pressure on Singler to be Duke's do-it-all performer has lessened this season because junior center Brian Zoubek (7-foot-1, 280 lbs.) finally has developed into a consistent contributor. He is averaging 6.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while shooting 59.7 percent from the field.
Junior forward Lance Thomas (6-foot-8, 220 lbs.) also provides Duke some depth in the post as a reserve. He's scoring 5.8 points per game and shooting 64.4 percent from the field.
While Landon Milbourne will have his hands full with Singler, Greivis Vasquez will be faced with a defensive challenge of his own in junior swingman Gerald Henderson (6-foot-4, 215 lbs.). Henderson has turned in several solid performances of late and is averaging 14.4 points per game while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 44.9 percent from three-point range.
Vasquez was largely responsible for shutting down Virginia freshman standout Sylven Landesberg on Tuesday, but will receive an even larger defensive test in the more experienced Henderson on Saturday.
Sophomore guard Nolan Smith (6-foot-2, 185 lbs.) is running the show for the Blue Devils this season, despite the fact senior guard Greg Paulus (6-foot-1, 185 lbs.), the guy who has been in charge on the court for Duke in recent seasons, is still around. But the two seem to balance each other out quite well, and as one source put it, the point guard position for this Duke squad is borderline irrelevant since the offense flows through Singler.
Junior guard John Scheyer (6-foot-5, 185 lbs.) fills the other guard spot in Duke's lineup. He is averaging 13.2 points per game while shooting 36.3 percent from three-point range.
Overall, Duke ranks fourth in the ACC in average rebounding margin (+6.9), field goal percentage (47.3 percent) and average turnover margin (+3.5). The Blue Devils rank fifth in the conference in three-point shooting percentage (34.3 percent).
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