Duke vs. Maryland
But it's on.
Now the question: Can Duke do what Carolina could not?
Duke did what Carolina did not.
Why?The answer is simple: ball pressure.
Maryland had too many trips down the court that resulted in turnovers or missed free throws. The turnovers are a direct result of ball pressure because Maryland's PG is erratic. The missed FTs are an indirect result of pressure because the Maryland players were clearly tired down the stretch. The Maryland bigs no longer had the lift that was giving Duke trouble in the first half. There were fewer blow-by drives in the final 5 minutes than in any other stretch of the game.
A good mid-major with solid PG play will give Duke trouble in the post-season. But Maryland is not solid with the ball. Neither Juan Dixon nor Steve Blake is walking through that proverbial door. And Maryland will struggle therefore.
Meanwhile, Duke got a big game out of DeMarcus Nelson. Nelson finally looks like the player most of us imagined when he was recruited out of California as that state's leading scorer and rebounder in boys high school history. If he continues to mature and Duke does the unthinkable and wins the ACC regular season, Nelson will be deserving of league-MVP consideration while Tyler Hansbrough is the clear MOP.