“Beat Duke Week” - as many Maryland fans call the days leading up to the big game - happens to fall on a bye week for the Terps, and according to Coach Mark Turgeon, it couldn't have come soon enough for his 'tired' team.
“Coming off a loss, you don't ever want to have a long time between games, but I think we need it,” Turgeon said.
“It's going to be a good week to try to get refreshed, get back to practicing us, getting better doing what we do, and getting ourselves ready for the stretch run,” he added.
The Terrapins have their work cut out for them going forward after falling to 17-7, 5-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference this weekend. Turgeon says the young roster is a little ahead of where he thought they'd be in his second year coaching, but nevertheless, he expects better from his team, and doesn't want to hear any excuses.
“We were flat, we were tired, we were dead, whatever you want to say, Virginia was great, but we've got to respond,” said Turgeon. “Whether it's good enough to beat Duke, we'll see.”
Even after losing senior forward Ryan Kelly in their second ACC game, the 21-2 Devils have proved they are a dangerous team. The Terps know whom they will be going up against and there's no hiding it.
“It's kind of hard on this campus to not know who you're playing. Hopefully knowing who we're playing will help us practice better,” said Turgeon.
Duke leads the all-time series with the Terrapins 110-61 since their very first meeting back in 1925. The Blue Devils have won nine of the last 10 against the Terps, which should only make Maryland fanatics all the more rowdy Saturday night at the Comcast Center.
Although new to the rivalry, Turgeon understands just how special the annual games against Duke are, especially in front of the home crowd.
“Duke is another level. It's above North Carolina, it's above everybody else. It's another level for our fans and another level for our players and our coaches,” said Turgeon. “I think it's like that for Duke everywhere they go but definitely here for us.”
The second-year coach does not need to be told the importance and potential impact the contest could have on the season.
“We're well aware of what this game means to everybody.”