Previewing Duke

Previewing Duke

The Blue Devils emerged from a significant disappointment to defeat two rivals in a matter of four days.

That was a good response and it put Duke back in a share of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Now, it's almost too easy to heap praise on the Blue Devils again.

"We have to be careful how we handle all those things," coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

The Blue Devils aren't done being challenged and they seem fully aware of that. The next game comes against North Carolina State, which is only one game behind Duke in the ACC standings. That should keep the Blue Devils grounded.

Duke dealt with the emotional high of toppling North Carolina with a solid performance in taking down Maryland in the next game.

"It shows some maturity on our part, after a huge game, to come back," forward Ryan Kelly said. "It shows that we're growing."

The Blue Devils were committed to the details against Maryland in such a manner that they committed only one second-half turnover.

The 73-55 triumph against Maryland marked the second victory by a double-digit margin against the Terrapins this season. Repeating the success might be a sign of proper focus on the Blue Devils' part.

NOTES, QUOTES
-- The Plumlee brothers both had double-doubles against Maryland. That's the first time F Mason Plumlee and C Miles Plumlee have posted double-doubles in the same game in their three years together on the Duke team. Miles Plumlee's 22 rebounds were the high mark. "To have those kind of stats, you have to be the hungriest player on the floor," Mason Plumlee said. "And he was by far."

Those 22 rebounds are the most by an ACC player in almost four years.

-- Maybe there are signs that Duke's defense has started to make some headway after struggling in several areas. Maryland's Terrell Stoglin was held to his second-lowest point total of the season when the Blue Devils limited the ACC's leading scorer to 13 points. Stoglin shot 4-for-16 from the field against Duke.

-- Freshman G Austin Rivers has been showered with attention since his game-winning 3-point basket as time expired against rival North Carolina. He said he must move on because there's more at stake in the coming games. "I can reminisce later on in my life," he said. "You try to have a good game and move on." Rivers followed his 29-point game against North Carolina with 11 points against Maryland.

BY THE NUMBERS: 32 -- Total number of rebounds by brothers C Miles Plumlee and F Mason Plumlee in Duke's victory against Maryland, which had 33 rebounds from its entire team.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think this team has focused better on the road. They know they need each other." -- Coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team was 5-0 in ACC road games this season, through the weekend.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THIS WEEK'S GAMES:

--vs. N.C. State, Feb. 16
KEY MATCHUPS:
This is the only regular-season meeting between neighboring schools and the Blue Devils will have to be able to guard on the perimeter, particularly against G Scott Wood and G C.J. Williams. N.C. State's F C.J. Leslie is bound to try to use his quickness against the Blue Devils in the lane, though Duke could send a wave of different players to defend N.C. State G Lorenzo Brown at the point guard spot.

--at Boston College, Feb. 19
KEY MATCHUPS:
The Blue Devils have enough talent to overwhelm a young Boston College team, which has hurt some opponents with its long-range shooting. Duke's front line of C Miles Plumlee and F Mason Plumlee should be strong enough to give the Blue Devils a solid advantage in the lane.

FUTURES MARKET: The Blue Devils have continued to send out different starting lineups, with junior F Ryan Kelly back in the first five. The Blue Devils are bound to work hard to put him on an upward trend because his ability to score from the perimeter as well as play inside, especially on defense, makes him a valuable and versatile player.

He tends to accept and often excel in a role as a reserve, but with certain matchups defensively dictating some decisions it's often ideal to have Kelly in the starting lineup. But he also has hit some dry spells and he played only 17 minutes in Saturday's victory against Maryland after logging 27 against North Carolina.

PLAYER NOTES
-- Senior C Miles Plumlee's 22 rebounds against Maryland were the highest total for a Duke player since Randy Denton's 25 in 1970. Plumlee became the first Blue Devil to pull down 20 rebounds since Elton Brand in November 1998. "I know I have the potential to be a great asset to this team," Plumlee said. "I just have to be consistent and play strong every night."

-- Junior G Seth Curry seems to have broken out of a shooting dip. He made at least three 3-point baskets in three consecutive games, though the weekend. He was 11 of 21 from long range in those games, when he averaged 18.7 points per game.

-- Junior G Andre Dawkins reached the 700-point mark for his career when he scored three points (on a 3-pointer) against Maryland. It was the 11th consecutive game in which he connected on a 3-point shot. It might come as a surprise that he's the career scoring leader at Duke among active players.

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