How the Terps can bookend Duke's win streak

1/8/2011 2:25:51 PM

By now, the mainstream sports media has beat into national consciousness Duke's dominance. They are a great team, filled with great players. We all know this.

What Dickie V doesn't want you to know is that Duke isn't unbeatable. Duke isn't invincible. No team with that many white guys is, no matter how athletic the Plumlee cyborgs may be.

I know it's a long shot that the Terps go into Durham and take down the Dookies. Here's what we have going against us:

  • Thanks to Patrick Stevens, we are aware that our Terps have lost eight consecutive ACC road openers. Only twice were those opponents ranked, and only once (against #3 UNC in '05) was the opponent ranked higher than #19. It doesn't take the best team in the country to beat us in our ACC road opener.
  • After MVPe' replaced Adrian Bowie in the starting lineup three games ago, then was supplanted in the starting five by Terrell "I never stop shooting. Ever." Stoglin earlier this week against Colgate, it's pretty much a certainty that a freshman will be running the point. In Cameron. This is a scary thought. Not as scary as Bowie running it, mind you, but scary nonetheless.
  • Despite losing all-world point guard Kyrie Irving, Duke is still characteristically stacked with talent. Seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler are still annoyingly on campus, and the Plumlee cyborgs man the middle with size and athleticism. Chip in a lesser Curry and some former four-and-five-star recruits, and Coach K's crew is loaded with talent again this year.


    With all that talent, Duke has ridiculous offensive team numbers. Among ACC teams, they're #1 in scoring, scoring margin, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, assists and turnover margin.

    However, they do have a weakness: the interior. Duke ranks in the middle of the pack in rebounding offense, rebounding defense, rebounding margin and blocked shots. 

     

    If the Terps are going to be successful, they have to exploit those weaknesses. What’s the best way to do that? Jordan Williams, Jordan Williams, Jordan Williams.

     

    Our big man has a little streak going of his own, notching a double-double in his last eight games, with 12 in the Terps’ 14 games this season. He’ll need to keep that streak alive and well to pull out a victory.

     

    Strategically speaking, the Terps need to hit J-Dub inside early and often. If they’re successful at feeding him the ball, he can put the Dookies in foul trouble and get to the line, where, God willing, he’ll be able to get some easy points.

     

    If Williams is getting double-teamed, which will either happen from the get-go or after he dominates his one-on-one matchup, he’ll need to turn into Arvydas Sabonis, which is to say, he needs to become a point guard from the post.


    It’s doubtful that we see Kyle Singler, who’ll likely be matching up with Dino Gregory, double onto Williams because Coach K doesn’t want to see his best player in foul trouble. This means the double teams will be coming from the perimeter.

     

    When that happens, Williams has to kick it out and find his shooters – Stoglin, Bowie and Tucker, preferably – who have to knock down their jumpers. A lot of people will question whether Stoglin has what it takes to start as a freshman and succeed in Cameron, but this is a kid who dropped about 30 points a game his senior year in high school to lead his team to a state championship. I believe in the ice water in his veins, and I believe he’ll be successful.

     

    Even if they execute this strategy to perfection, it’s far from a sure thing that the Terps will leave Durham with a W. Heck, we could be in for another 41-point debacle. But if there’s anyone who knows how to beat #1-ranked teams, it’s Gary Williams, and I have faith in him and our boys to come through and pull off the upset. Let’s hope they prove me right tonight. Go Terps!

     




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