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DUKE AT MARYLAND

2/25/09

The tension is already boiling. A battle of epic proportions will take place on Wednesday at the Comcast Center in College Park, MD when the Maryland Terrapins seek to knock off their arch rival, the Duke Blue Devils. Many consider this game to be a bout between good and evil. Others just want to know who will cover the spread.


Grieves Vasquez single handedly beat the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday. The Venezuela native posted a career high 35 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. It was the first triple-double for a Maryland player since 1987. This was one of the best performances in the history of the program and it brought back thoughts of how Len Bias played against UNC in 1984. He won’t have to duplicate that performance in order to down Duke, but he will need to bring his “A” game.


The Duke Blue Devils are a perennial powerhouse for a reason. They have an excellent reputation, recruiting, and even better coaching. Coach Kzyzewski (try spelling that without looking!) has ice in veins when playing from behind and never lets his boys give up. Not to mention he does get a fair amount of help from the zebras.


Duke has a list of wins that would make any team in the country blush. That list includes Michigan, Purdue, Xavier, Davidson, Georgetown (before they started to decline), and Wake Forest. Duke is 7-8-1 against the spread. They have switched their style up these past few games and taken Greg Paulus out of the starting lineup. That move has paid dividends. Duke wasn’t able to beat Wake Forest with their first lineup, but easily cruised by them with their new look.


Maryland looked like a demoralized and defeated team just one week ago. They had suffered brutal losses to Duke and Clemson, and even dropped a game to a no name school called Morgan State. How could a team talented enough to blow out #5 Michigan State fall so far from grace? Luckily, they found their groove and kept their .500 ACC record in tact. Maryland has always been tough ATS with a record of 12-8. The win over North Carolina was a very symbolic one. Pundits believed the Terps no longer belonged with the top tier of ACC teams. The so called “experts” couldn’t have been more wrong.


The local saying about Maryland is “Fear The Turtle”, and with wins over Michigan State, North Carolina, Michigan and Miami, people are starting to take notice. Grieves Vasquez isn’t the only baller on this team. Eric Hayes is something of a three point specialist and can be counted on for 9.7 PPG. Cliff Tucker exploded against the Tar Heels with 22 points, and if he comes with anything close to that on Wednesday, it will be a long night for Duke.


Kyle Singler and Gerald Henderson could create big problems for Maryland. Henderson is posting 16.5 PPG and grabbing 4.7 RPG. He can really throw the ball down. Singler is the best player for the Blue Devils. He is averaging a whopping 7.8 RPG and 16.1 PPG. Maryland isn’t the biggest team, so if they let those two go wild under the hoop they wont stand a chance.


I’m going to go with the Terrapins to improve their outstanding ATS record. They are white hot at the moment and will be looking for revenge against Duke for a loss earlier in the season. Vasquez played arguably the best game of any Maryland player in the history of the program against the Tar Heels. If he plays anything like that against Duke, the Terps will win straight up. Bet Jamaica has Maryland +6


 

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