Duke-Maryland Basketball: Blue Devils Stomp Bewildered Terrapins in a Rout

BabyTateSenior Writer IJanuary 24, 2009

"Our house...is a very, very, very, fine house," begins the rhyme of Graham Nash.

So thought vaunted Maryland international star Greivis Vasquez before entering Cameron Indoor stadium Saturday afternoon to do battle with the soon-to-be-No. 1-ranked Duke. 

At least that was what he thought until he was taken out of the ball game as ineffective on offense, defense, and rebounding. A true triple-header, Vasquez finished the game on the bench with four points, one rebound, and four turnovers in an 85-44 loss.

At other times this decade, a Blue Devil unit would squander a large lead against a formidable opponent, but not this group.

This squad is tough and ready to fight.

Ready to fight early or late.

Ready to fight on the floor or on the boards.

Ready to fight is the battle cry of this Duke Blue Devil basketball team.

This is the most physically punishing and rugged group of men that coach Mike Krzyzewski has put on the court in many years, certainly since 2001, and perhaps all the way back to the days of Laettner. Davis, Hurley, and the Hills.

Duke has not been dominant on the boards since the 1978 team with Gminski, Banks, and Dennard, collectively known then as "The Duke Power Company."

The 1999 outfit of Elton Brand and Battier and the '01 team anchored by 6'9" Carlos Boozer, 6'8" Shane Battier, and 6'9" Mike Dunleavy Jr. were good on the boards, but not great.

For all to see, Duke has at last mastered control of the boards through positioning, blocking out, athletic quickness, and tough, nose-for-the-ball rebounding.

Just what Bobby Knight taught Krzyzewski when he played for the General at West Point in the 1960s.

Duke is out-rebounding its opponents by over 10 rebounds a game. Duke out-rebounded Maryland 56 to 38. That is what happened on the court, not what might happen or could happen, that is what did happen.

So impressive was Duke defensively and on the boards that one may overlook how superb the offense operated, and how well the Blue Devils took care of the ball.

The Duke juggernaut created 23 assists against only nine turnovers while holding Maryland to 28 percent shooting and forcing 17 turnovers.

So dazed and helpless were the Terrapins that Coach Gary Williams could do nothing but sit on the bench and watch the complete destruction of his alma mater, as he was handed the worst loss of his entire coaching career.

My house indeed.

With this 41-point win over Maryland, Duke will ascend to the No. 1 position in all of the polls, just as they have been in the RPI poll for some time.

The Blue Devils are back to their rightful place as the best team of the ACC, and the best defensive team anyone has seen during the season.

The length of the arms on Smith, Scheyer, Henderson, and Williams is astonishing, and provides the first source of interior defense by making it difficult to penetrate or pass the ball inside.

This is not your older brother's Duke team. 

Congratulations to the High Priest of ACC coaches, Mike Krzyzewski for a job well done.

Here is the best part: The Blue Devils are not finished yet.

Duke may still have a trophy to hoist later this year.

Which one? Only time will tell but, if the Blue Devils continue to play the best basketball in America, we can recognize what that celebration will be.


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