Duke Basketball: Breaking Down Blue Devils' Most Dangerous Remaining Opponents

Austin GreenCorrespondent IDecember 25, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09:  Alex Len #25 (L) of Maryland looks to drive around while being defended by Willie Cauley-Stein #15 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the Barclays Center Classic at the Barclays Center on November 9, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Jason Szenes/Getty Images)
Jason Szenes/Getty Images

The No.1-ranked Duke Blue Devils have mowed down everyone in their path, and with the ACC lacking its usual toughness, Coach Krzyzewski's group could finish the regular season undefeated.

Of course, there's a reason only two teams (UNLV in 1991, St. Joseph's in 2004) have had undefeated regular seasons in the last 20 years. It's incredibly tough to run the table in college basketball, as Coach K himself can testify. He's coached two Blue Devils teams to 17-0 records, only to fall in the 18th game.

Duke also has some fairly serious flaws, including a lack of depth. The Blue Devils essentially only play a six-man rotation, and as their top guys begin to wear down, they will be in danger of losing to the following teams.


Maryland Terrapins (10-1)

Maryland is just 1-9 in its last 10 games against Duke, but with their size and rebounding ability, look for the Terrapins to earn some bragging rights this season.

The Terps have been pounding teams on the boards, averaging 44.4 rebounds per game (fourth in the nation). Center Alex Len is using his 7'1" frame to perfection, pulling down 8.8 boards per game. Freshman forward Charles Mitchell adds an insane 6.3 rebounds in just 15.3 minutes, and Dez Wells (4.7), James Padgett (4.6) and Nick Faust (4.3) all crash the glass as well.

With the presence of Len, Maryland can also frustrate Duke star Mason Plumlee. Len had 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks against Kentucky's army of NBA-caliber big men, so don't be surprised if he goes off on Plumlee.


No. 25 North Carolina State

N.C. State is the most efficient offensive team in the country, as it leads the nation with its 53.4 percent field-goal shooting.

The Wolfpack have five players averaging double figures (C.J. Leslie, T.J. Warren, Richard Howell, Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood), and guard Rodney Purvis is almost there at 9.4 points per game. They also have exceptional size, as Purvis is the shortest player (6'3") who averages more than 12 minutes per game.

With a swarm of bigs to throw at Plumlee and a tall, athletic backcourt, N.C. State certainly has the tools to upset Duke.


Miami Hurricanes

Miami beat Duke in their only meeting last season, and with a solid inside-outside game, don't be surprised if the Hurricanes top the Blue Devils again this year.

Seniors Durand Scott, Reggie Johnson and Kenny Kadji, as well as sophomore Shane Larkin, all average double figures. Senior Trey McKinney Jones is almost there with 9.9. The Hurricanes offense is balanced, and multiple guys can explode on a given night.

Miami is an experienced group, and it has already notched quality wins over Michigan State, Charlotte and Detroit. Although it just lost by 19 to No. 4 Arizona, this is a dangerous team.

Look for the Hurricanes to challenge the Blue Devils in their two meetings this season.