Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Getting ready for Duke-Maryland
By Dana O'Neil
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Greetings from the empty-for-another-10-minutes Comcast Center. Doors open for this hoop-a-palooza at 7:30 and I've been told to be ready for a student stampede.
Not much on the line here. It's just senior night for Greivis Vasquez. A win gives the Terps at least a share of the ACC regular-season crown and the mano-a-mano battle between Vasquez and Jon Scheyer tonight could determine ACC Player of the year honors. Oh and one veteran Maryland scribe just told me this is easily the most anticipated game on campus in seven years. Yep, just an ordinary evening.
There are a few things worth watching, besides the general mayhem:
Brian Zoubek on the boards. A month ago, the Blue Devils smoked the Terps, 77-56 and the 7-1 senior was a big part of the reason. He scored 16 points and even more important, pulled in a yeoman's 17 boards, the difference in the game. Maryland is going to have win the rebounding war, or at least score a tie, to have a chance tonight.
Vasquez's emotions. The Venezuelan is fiery on a Sunday in July. Tonight he could actually self combust on the court, what with the senior night festivities. Vasquez needs to play with the emotion he always employs but somehow make sure it doesn't overwhelm him.
The pace. Duke allows just 61 points per game and has limited 15 opponents to fewer than 60. Maryland, meantime, is averaging 84 points during its recent five-game win streak (dating back to that pasting by Duke). If Maryland can push the ball, the edge goes to the Terps. If the Devils can slow it down, advantage Duke.