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.
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