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Scouting Duke

After a longer hiatus than expected (thanks, Mother Nature), the Maryland men's basketball team will travel to Durham, N.C., to take on No. 8 Duke on Saturday. The Blue Devils earned a 10-point win at North Carolina on Wednesday night to move to 20-4 and 8-2 in ACC play, though the contest did not produce entirely good news.

Senior forward Lance Thomas (6 feet 8, 225 pounds) suffered what team officials described as a severely bruised bone in his right knee after colliding with Tar Heels guard Larry Drew II early in the second half and did not return. Thomas, who averages 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, is doubtful to play Saturday against the Terrapins.

While Thomas was not a focal point of Duke's attack, he had served as a capable role player this season for the Blue Devils. Should Thomas remain out of the lineup, expect freshman forward Mason Plumlee (6-10, 230 pounds) to start and see significant minutes. Plumlee, who is averaging 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds, played 27 minutes off the bench Wednesday against North Carolina and finished with seven points and nine rebounds.

In Coach Mike Krzyzewski's 30th season at the helm in Durham, the Blue Devils are led primarily by the trio of senior guard Jon Scheyer, junior forward Kyle Singler and junior guard Nolan Smith. Scheyer, Singler and Smith constitute three of the top six scorers in ACC play and three of the top five ACC players in terms of minutes per game. All three players average more than 37.5 minutes per game in conference play.

Scheyer (6-5, 190 pounds), who is averaging 19.1 points, 5.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game, joined Maryland senior guard Greivis Vasquez on the list of 11 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given annually to the nation's top point guard. Scheyer is shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from three-point range. He ranks third in the ACC in conference play in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0).

Singler (6-8, 230 pounds), the ACC preseason player of the year, is averaging 16.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He is shooting 40.7 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from three-point range.

Smith (6-2, 185 pounds) is averaging 17.7 points, 3.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. He is shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from three-point range.

If Mason Plumlee were to start Saturday's game, he would do so alongside his older brother, Miles, a 6-10, 240-pound sophomore forward. Miles Plumlee is averaging 6.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 57.0 percent from the field.

The Blue Devils can bring a decent measure of size off the bench, as well. Senior center Brian Zoubek (7-1, 260 pounds) is averaging 4.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, and freshman forward Ryan Kelly (6-10, 220 pounds) chips in 1.6 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.

Given its abundance of big men, it shouldn't come as much surprise that Duke leads the ACC in rebounding margin (plus-4.3) in conference play.

Freshman guard Andre Dawkins (6-4, 190 pounds) provides Duke back-court relief. Dawkins is averaging 6.2 points and 1.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from three-point range.

Duke owns the conference's leading scoring defense (62.8 points per game allowed) in ACC play. The Blue Devils ranks second in three-point field goal percentage allowed (25.2 percent) and third in turnover margin (plus-2.4 ) in the ACC in conference play.

As a team, Duke is shooting 45.6 percent from the field, 39.4 percent from three-point range and 75.2 percent from the free throw line.

By Steve Yanda  |  February 12, 2010; 8:02 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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I'm curious to see how we'll try to defend Duke. Singler particularly will be a tough matchup for us, though I could see Milbourne on him if we decide to go man-to-man. Do we maybe go with a 3-2 zone and try to force them to win the game inside with some of their less prolific scorers? I'm hoping we've learned something about dealing with outside shooters since our game against Villanova, where we dared them to beat us from deep with a 2-3, and they took full advantage of it. Should be a good game anyway.

Posted by: stjerome03 | February 12, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

This is going to be a otugh game. Duke has it all in terms of depth and experience. However, for all of my own criticisms of GV, he seems to thrive in hostile atmospheres and Cameron will provide that on Saturday. I think it comes down to turnovers - especially unforced mistakes - travelling, bad passes and such. If MD keeps the mistakes to a minimum, they win.

Larry - thanks so much for the JJR clip. Priceless. The Laettner thing was done decades ago. I doubt I still have it and am not sure that Harvard Graphics can be read by PPT. That said, will scour around for it - I happen to have my late 90's zip drive hooked up today so there might be a shot. I'll talk to my Tar Heel buddy to see if he has it as well. Note that our buddy from Duke has an inventory of historical abuse towards UNC.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | February 12, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

And a jpeg we should all have in our collections....

Posted by: HughGRection | February 12, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I am thinking that we will play man defense against Duke because I think we play it well and match up pretty well against them. They are deeper in the front court than we are but certainly not better. Foul trouble against their three top scorers could cause problems if it comes from GV, Hayes or Mosley.

With their front court depth I don't think they will be afraid to foul inside. What worries my though is not their three-point shooting, but their three-point defense. Vasquez will get/or take his share of shots, but it may be hard to get Hayes and others open, especially with the length of Singler and Scheyer and the quickness of Smith.

No surprise that it comes back to some of our usual themes: take care of the ball, be patient on offense, lot's of energy on defense and... make free throws.

We really don't have to do anything special.

And oh ya, Eric, can you guys avoid trying to get GV to open his trap in the next 24 hours?

Posted by: petecard | February 12, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

With all the All-American's they have and all the studs they recruit, I find it puzzling why Duke regularly only plays a 7 man rotation (at most) and runs their players into the ground during the regular season at the expense of the post-season. Maybe their players don't pan out....or maybe its poor coaching. Regardless, I'll enjoy their second round exit from the NCAA tournament this year.

Posted by: fushezzi | February 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

HGR, Barno and Poop-Dogg,

Glad you guys liked the links from the previous post. Just doing my best to spread joy amongst fellow Terps fans at the expense of Dukies.


Absolutely agree. Duke plays excellent team defense which means that MD will have to be extremely disciplined in their half court sets. Their front court can get lost at time on defense.

Posted by: larry31 | February 12, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

FUSHEZZI------Poor coaching? Coach K? What planet do you live on? Three national championships says it all.

Posted by: sportsfan2 | February 12, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

sportsfan2.....Coach K = Great recruiter; Ok game coach.

With all the talent he recruits he should be in the Final Four every year. He hasn't won an National Championship since 2001 (one year before Gary). He could coach up until the mid 90s then regressed and as a result, his teams have under performed.

Posted by: fushezzi | February 12, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Winnable game for UMD. Coach K is not god, he is mortal as we. You know the game is going our way when he looks like his panties are in a bunch vs. Gary. Terps chances for winning increase if we can get inside buckets consistently. Here's the key to Duke's "vaunted D" courtesy of a UNC fan.

Posted by: Realness1 | February 12, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

You live by the three, you die by the three. If Maryland does a good job of defending the three point shot, and Duke's shooters are not too hot, we have a chance.
Just make sure to block out and don't give them second-chance shots--they're a lot taller.
Duke plays their starters to near exhaustion, but now (unlike the great teams of 2001 and 2002) so does Maryland. Will Gary rotate Gregory, Bowie and Tucker (even Padgett maybe?) more often than usual?
If the Terrapin starters have fresher legs at the end than their Duke counterparts, we have a great chance to prevail.
But GW will also have to consider this: it will be the first game of a grueling three game set with only one day off twice.
Don't worry so much about winning the battle--one game--think about winning the war: being at or near the top of the standings when the season ends.

Posted by: dzukijason | February 12, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Coach K's recruiting is not what it once was either and Duke is also a fading power. They've been able to maintain a little higher level than MD the last 5-6 years, but its been nothing to write home about for them either. As always Coach K struggles to build depth. Bobby Cremins used to always have the same issue of not trusting the guys outside of the 5-7 key rotation players.

Posted by: restonhoops | February 12, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Coach K = Great recruiter; Ok game coach.

With all the talent he recruits he should be in the Final Four every year. He hasn't won an National Championship since 2001 (one year before Gary). He could coach up until the mid 90s then regressed and as a result, his teams have under performed.

Posted by: fushezzi

This is a very ironic post. First, if Coach K is only an okay game coach, why is he the coach of Team USA, the leader of the best players and coaches in the game? He has gotten that team to play together and accept roles and to a man they praise him.

People defend GW (Garo1) to the end of the earth, regardless of our NCAA performance (or lack thereof) for the past 6 years. Duke may have underperformed, but they have been much, much better than the Terps.

Now don't get me wrong, I am NOT a Duke fan, but I respect Coach K, while rooting against his team and getting upset when I think the refs let him over-influence the game.

But let's keep it real. God, NO.... great, absolutely.

Posted by: petecard | February 12, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Jordan Williams is the key. Duke has nobody who can guard him, need to feed the big fella early and often. Also need Landon to consistently knock down his jumper.

The Terps can do it, they just need great exectuion

Posted by: jpfterps | February 12, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse


I should probably have specified....and OK game coach at the college level. His current coaching method is suited for the pros....simply using a 7 man rotation. Let's be serious though. Anyone could have coached Team USA. He was chosen b/c he is well respected. Let's be honest, Coach K isn't really outcoaching anyone nowadays.

Posted by: fushezzi | February 12, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

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