Maryland Upsets #2 Duke and #3 Miami (FL) Takes On Clemson

By Debbie B.

Things happen in threes and on Saturday the #2 Duke Blue Devils suffered their third loss for the season against unranked Maryland, 83-81. The team remains in the ACC’s second spot but could say goodbye to its No. 2 ranking on Monday.

Other upsets from Saturday included #18 Marquette’s 79-69 win over #16 Pittsburgh and Providence over #21 Notre Dame, 71-54.

The #25 Kentucky Wildcats may see their season starting to go south as they played without Nerlens Noel and lost to Tennessee 88-58.

On Sunday, #3 Miami will take on Clemson. With a win, will the Hurricanes jump up to the second spot or will they fall at the challenging Littlejohn Coliseum?

Duke vs. Maryland

Duke Center Mason Plumlee

With Saturday’s win, the Terrapins snapped a six-game losing streak against its ACC rival and avenged its 20-point loss against the team in January.

It was challenging and with just 2.8 seconds remaining and a tied game, Maryland’s Seth Allen hit two free throws for the win.

By the end of the game, Duke looked like it had undergone a losing battle. And it had as Maryland outrebounded them 40-20, shot for 60 percent, led for the entire second half and held Duke’s star center Mason Plumlee to four points and three rebounds.

Duke had staged a comeback with less than four minutes remaining in the game after being down 10 points but Allen’s free throws nailed the win.

After a game like Saturday’s Duke has to be happy Maryland is going to the Big Ten.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the game via ESPN, “I have a great deal of respect for Maryland. If it was such a rivalry they’d still be in the ACC. Obviously they don’t think it’s that important or else they wouldn’t be in the Big Ten.”

For Maryland, Alex Len led with 19 points with nine rebounds and Allen contributed 16.

Duke’s Seth Curry scored 25 points with one rebound, three assists and two steals.

The Blue Devils have 8 to 1 odds to win the Championship in April.

#3 Miami vs. Clemson

Hurricanes Shane Larkin

The Hurricanes (20-3, 11-0) will try to keep their perfect conference record alive by playing a less talented Clemson (13-11, 5-7) but we all know that sometimes doesn’t matter.

One of Miami’s secret weapons has been Shane Larkin, a Bob Cousy Award contender. The player has been averaging 13.4 points and 4.3 assists per game. He sits as No. 4 in the ACC for 3-pointers with his 43.7 shooting percentage.

Over his last five games, Larkin has been shooting 61.1 percent (33 for 54) with 9 for 15 coming from the field. In Wednesday’s 74-68 win over Florida State, he had 22 points but hit the bench early.

Larkin’s coach Jim Larranaga has recognized his value and recently said via ESPN, “Shane is just all about winning. He just wants to win. It doesn’t matter if he scores five points or 20 points, he’s going to do whatever the team needs him to do to win the game.”

For the Tigers, they’re strong defensively, ranking No. 2 in the ACC for holding teams to 58.6 points per game but offense is another story.

They sit at the bottom with scoring at a 62.8-point average while undergoing turnovers has improved lately as they’ve only had seven in their last four games. On Thursday, they snapped three-straight game losing streak with their 56-53 win over Georgia Tech.

But this team’s secret weapon may be it’s ability to upset top teams on their home court. ESPN has ranked it as one of the hardest places to play while an EA Sports Survey gave it a No. 2 ranking for toughest places.

History has Clemson defeating Duke twice at home: first  in 1980 (No. 1) and again in 2009 (No. 3). Then there was the upset of No. 1 North Carolina in 2001.

But this shouldn’t deter the Hurricanes on Sunday as they’re -6, 120.5 o/u for the win.