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Three things to watch: Vasquez, Plumlee(s) and three-point shooting

Later today, Maryland will take on Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. It's Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski's birthday and this game will mark his 1,000th in charge of the Blue Devils. The Duke Varsity Club is hosting a considerably large program reunion -- more than 300 former players, managers, coaches and trainers are expected to attend.

And if you think the Terrapins care at all about any of that, well, here's guessing that they don't.

In regards to the actual game, here are a few things to keep track of:

1) Greivis Vasquez. The love-hate relationship between Vasquez and the Cameron Crazies has been well documented through the years, and today will mark the final time the two parties will meet at Cameron Indoor Stadium during Vasquez's collegiate career. Vasquez turned in solid performances in his first two season playing at Duke, but struggled last season as the Terrapins fell by 41 points. He and the rest of the team will be looking to attone for that showing today against the Blue Devils, who are ranked No. 8 in the nation. Vasquez is averaging 18.1 points, 6.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Duke is undefeated at home thus far this season.

2) Miles and Mason Plumlee. At last check, senior forward Lance Thomas -- who Krzyzewski called this past week one of the best defenders in the nation -- remains doubtful to play against Maryland due to a right knee injury suffered during a 10-point win at North Carolina on Wednesday. Assuming Thomas does not play, the Blue Devils will lean more heavily on the 6-foot-10 Plumlee brothers to produce in the frontcourt. Miles, a sophomore, is averaging 6.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 57.0 percent from the field. Mason, a freshman, is averaging 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 46.1 percent from the field. Mason stepped in for Thomas when the senior departed Wednesday's game early in the second half and turned in a quality performance off the bench.

3) Three-point shooting. Maryland and Duke shoot and defend the three-point shot fairly well, which will make for an interesting convergence along the arc today. The Terrapins lead the ACC in three-point shooting (45.5 percent) in conference play, while the Blue Devils are allowing opponents to shoot just 25.2 percent from beyond the arc, which ranks second in the conference in ACC play. Duke is shooting 34.9 percent from the three-point line in conference play (third), while Maryland is allowing ACC opponents to shoot 29.9 percent from beyond the arc (sixth). Keep an eye on the production of Eric Hayes and Jon Scheyer -- who might be the two best three-point marksmen on the floor Saturday. Vasquez and Kyle Singler can shoot from long range, as well.

By Steve Yanda  |  February 13, 2010; 8:58 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: No more cheer sheets at Cameron Indoor

Comments

We have every right to think we can go into Cameron and walk out with a victory. In the past we have talked about marquee wins this year and a win vs the Dookies at Cameron would be just that. The fate of the ACC race I think lies in this game as does the tone for the next three games. They will have to put up with Duke's infamous runs in a racous setting but I think our Seniors will thrive in the atmosphere. Jordan will be playing in hi most hostile environment yet so we will really see how far the freshman has come. Fuke Duck!!

Posted by: terptilldeath | February 13, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Terptilldeath, I agree with most of your comments. It's a big an important game and we certainly have every right to think we will/can win. It would be great if the team expects to win... doesn't matter what we think.

The seniors should be able to handle it, but funny things happen in that atmosphere and Vasquez is unpredictable. It's a huge learning experience for Jordan Williams.

But this is not a must win game. We do need to be competitive and establish our position as a team that can play well in difficult situations and can win the conference. A win would be great, but staying on track is even more important. We do need to win at home and we will need to win at VTech. I expect that we will win in Raleigh and Charlottseville.

I hope the team plays with confidence and energy, but not tight with a must-win mental set.

Posted by: petecard | February 13, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Terps are 10 pt underdogs and nearly 5 to 1 longshot to win according to Vegas.

As the late great Rodney Dangerfield would say, we can't get no respect.

Take the Terps +10 and hammer it

Posted by: Barno1 | February 13, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Hope we get and keep the lead from the get go to shut that crowd up. Win today boys!

Posted by: Realness1 | February 13, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Pete,

I agree with your comment that doubling down on ony of Duke's front court would be stupid because you leave Smith, Scheyer or Singler open.

Duke's offensive rebounding and Smith's ability to dribble penetrate and score or kick out to Scheyer or Singler are the factors that bother me against Duke.

Duke losing Lance Thomas is a bigger deal than most people are giving it credit for. LT is Duke's defensive quarterback. MD will be able to attack the basket much more effectively without Thomas in the post. The Plumlees are good, but they still get lost, especially against a team that is patient and executes well.

Bilas at ESPN is predicting a Terps victory. But if you read it, he doesn't really jusitfy his picking the Terps. I guess he is taking the Thomas injury into consideration or just going with his gut. Either way, it is a good read.

http://espn.go.com/ncb/notebook/_/page/notebookweekendwatch100212/feb-12-19

Posted by: larry31 | February 13, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"Duke losing Lance Thomas is a bigger deal than most people are giving it credit for"

Shhhhh

Posted by: Barno1 | February 13, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Barno1 is right, losing Lance Thomas will be big in this game. This will create a lot more mismatches and forces Singler to guard Milbourne.

I still don't know if it will be enough to win in Cameron.

Posted by: lavar609 | February 13, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Take the Terps +10 and hammer it

Posted by: Barno1 | February 13, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Ugh. Sorry for this one folks...hopefully i'm the only one that lost big.

The canceled game on wednesday really seems to have gotten MD out of their rhythm.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 13, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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