Duke arrives at Comcast Center tonight stripped of some of its luster.

The last time Maryland played the Blue Devils, Duke had won 24 games in a row and was No. 1 in the nation. Duke won, 71-64.


Since then, Duke has lost at Florida State and St. John's. The Devils are obviously still a potent team. They have two of the nation's best (and most experienced) players in Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler. They'd obviously be even more dangerous with freshman guard Kyrie Irving, who is out with a foot injury.

I think we'll see another tight game. As we witnessed at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Maryland matches up pretty well with Duke.

It was just a few years ago -- before Jordan Williams -- that Duke seemed to tower over the Terps.

Remember Brian "Kareem Jabbar" Zoubek last season at Cameron? He had 16 points and 17 rebounds for Duke. Size is a wonderful thing.

It was Jordan Williams' first game at Cameron, and he wasn't himself yet. He scored six points. Consider that Williams had 23 points and 13 rebounds in his return to Cameron on Jan. 9. Things have changed.

Maryland stayed in that January game with strong inside play and also -- not surprisingly -- with defense. Smith was held to 5-for-18 from the floor. The Terps forced 17 turnovers and held Duke to 1-for-10 shooting on 3-point attempts in the first half.

Singler was a problem for the Terps. He bailed Duke out. He's difficult to match up with because of his inside-outside versatility.

Since the Terps (sans Greivis Vasquez) aren't really built for shootouts, it's almost always about defense when they play well in big games. It will have to be that way again for Maryland to win.