Six games ago, Duke started a winning streak against Maryland with an 84-64 victory. Since then, however, so much has happened—both for the Blue Devils, but also on the wider college basketball scene as well throughout that time.
Upsets have seemingly been the buzz word of the month on the college scene, with the race for the No. 1 changing more than Dwight Howard trade rumors.
Providence upset No. 21 Notre Dame; the Tennessee Volunteers whooped Kentucky by 30 points, who now must fight on without Nerlens Noel in 2013. One look at the ever-changing nature of the Top 10 in the latest AP Poll will show just how tough the college basketball world is at the moment, with upsets and underdogs constantly forcing the rankings to change.
Yet in that time, Duke has been consistent, without being explosive.
Without Ryan Kelly, Duke managed to scrape by Boston College and then against rivals North Carolina in the past week, with Mason Plumlee stepping up big again.
They now head to Maryland to take on a team that they've taken 12 of their last 13 from, including their last six fixtures by an average of 15-plus points.
The Blue Devils are seemingly on the verge of making it seven-straight victories and consolidating their position as one of the top five teams in the country. But as we've seen throughout the past few weeks, that could very well just spell an upset coming for the Duke faithful.
Few would argue that the Blue Devils have played anywhere near their best in the past few weeks, and that there is still rapid room for improvement to take place within this team. Kelly's presence is sourly missed and Seth Curry continues to be streaky.
Yet despite all of that, this is a team that has stuck it out and won basketball games when they may very well have lost, and they deserve some credit for that.
Their ability to hang in there against Boston College and UNC and get wins even when they weren't playing well has kept their streak alive and will no doubt give them great momentum heading into a fixture that they usually prevail in.
And despite the upsets and the streakiness of the Blue Devils at the moment, expect Duke to buck both of those trends with an emphatic win here.
Maryland has lost 18 of its last 19 matchups against Top 25 opponents, with their last win coming back at the start of January—against North Carolina, ironically enough.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski was quoted during the week via ESPN saying that "for Maryland, this [game] is survival... it is more than a game, this is a season for them." And he's right—this could well determine the Terrapins' March chances here, and Duke will likely have their backs up against the wall against a potentially volatile home crowd.
But given how the Blue Devils have been playing in the past week, having their backs up against the wall will seemingly be the best thing for them. They have thrived under pressure and excelled despite not playing their best, and will surely light it up when they finally start to hit their mark as a team.
Expect this game to just "click" for Duke, as they run out comfortable winners once more against a side that is very quickly becoming a favorite of the Devils.
Duke by 13.
Can Duke keep their winning streak alive this weekend vs. Maryland?
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