Greensboro, NC (Sports Network) - The second-ranked Duke Blue Devils begin
postseason play on Friday evening, as they take on the Maryland Terrapins in
the quarterfinals of the 60th-annual Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at
the Greensboro Coliseum.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils fell behind Miami-Florida in the conference
standings with a couple of losses in January, and despite a late run down the
stretch with wins in three straight and five of its last six games, could not
catch the Hurricanes, instead finishing a game out of the top spot at 27-4
overall and 14-4 in the ACC. No stranger to tournament success, Duke is
seeking its 20th ACC Tournament title, and boasts of a stellar 91-40 mark in
the event all-time. In addition, the Blue Devils are closing in on 2,000
victories as a program, currently sitting at 1,998 wins and will become just
the fourth school ever to reach that mark shortly.
Mark Turgeon's Terrapins don't have quite the lengthy tournament resume that
Duke has. Maryland came into tournament play this year with a record of 45-55
in this event, with three tournament titles to its credit, the last coming in
2004. The Terps added to their win total with a 75-62 first-round win over
Wake Forest on Thursday to move to 21-11 overall. Despite reaching the 20-win
plateau this year, wins in-conference were harder to come by for UM during the
regular season, with an 8-10 record, good for just the seven-seed.
Duke holds a 113-62 advantage in the all-time series with Maryland, as the two
teams split a pair of meetings this year, each winning on its home floor.
The winner of this game will take on either Florida State or North Carolina in
Saturday's semifinal round.
The Terrapins came into the postseason averaging just over 70 points per game
on the year, doing so on an efficient .464 shooting (third in the ACC).
Defense was also a strength, with Maryland leading the conference in both
field-goal percentage defense (.379) and rebounding margin (+9.2). Sophomore
Dez Wells led the way offensively for Maryland at 12.2 ppg. Fellow sophomore
Alex Len was more than serviceable in the middle, as the 7-footer ranked fifth
in the league in rebounding (8.1 rpg).
Trailing by five points at the half, the Terrapins outscored the Demon Deacons
45-27 over the final 20 minutes to run away with the first-round victory.
Wells led five Terps in double figures with 21 points. Len and Seth Allen
finished with 11 points each, while Nick Faust and Pe'Shon Howard chipped in
with 10 apiece.
Duke comes into the postseason as the ACC's top offensive squad at 78.4 ppg.
No player in the conference has made as much improvement than senior forward
Mason Plumlee. An anchor in the frontcourt, Plumlee finished second in the ACC
in scoring (17.2 ppg), rebounding (10.3 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.589),
en route to All-ACC First-Team honors. He gets plenty of help from
sharpshooters Seth Curry (third in the ACC at 17.1 ppg) and Ryan Kelly (15.5
ppg). Quinn Cook (12.5 ppg) and Rasheed Sulaimon (11.4 ppg) add to the scoring
depth for the explosive Blue Devils.
The Sports Network