Duke has faced Maryland 11 times this decade when it’s been ranked first or second in the nation.
With a win over the Terrapins on Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the No. 2 Blue Devils will likely move to No. 1.
A loss by the country’s top-ranked team earlier in the week has left the door open for Duke, which will be looking for its 10th consecutive victory while trying to win for the 27th time in 28 games at home.
The Blue Devils (17-1, 4-0 ACC) have developed an intriguing rivalry with the Terrapins (13-5, 2-2) over the past decade, meeting in two conference tournament championship games and once in the Final Four.
It’s been more than just those late-season matchups that have defined the rivalry, though. Duke and Maryland have split their last 14 meetings, and home-court advantage hasn’t been a necessity. The Blue Devils have won three times in College Park and the Terrapins have won twice in Durham.
Duke has been a top 10 team for all but two of its past 28 meetings with Maryland, and thanks to a pair of results in the past week, it will almost certainly vault to No. 1 with a victory Saturday.
The Blue Devils looked like they might be in trouble at halftime of their home game Tuesday against North Carolina State, trailing 26-22. But after shooting under 30 percent in the first half, Duke shot 76 percent in the final 20 minutes to run past the Wolfpack 73-56.
The next night, No. 1 Wake Forest lost to Virginia Tech, meaning a win over Maryland would likely push Duke to the top spot in Monday’s poll. The Demon Deacons host Duke on Wednesday.
“When we’re sharp and running our stuff and executing it … if we’re doing it sharp, we’re going to make shots,” said junior Gerald Henderson, who had 21 points, seven rebounds, five steals and four assists Tuesday. “We’re going to get open shots and we have good enough players to knock them down.”
Henderson struggled with a wrist injury earlier this season, but he’s played the best basketball of his career over the past few weeks. He’s averaging 22.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 steals and shooting 61.0 percent in his last four games.
“He can take over, he can elevate,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “But when he does that, he can also make a pass to an open teammate. He can produce points - not just his, but for others.”
Henderson had 23 points in Duke’s 93-84 win at Maryland last Jan. 27, but was 0-for-3 from the floor and scored four points in a 77-65 home victory over the Terps on Feb. 13.
The star for the Blue Devils that day was Kyle Singler, who had a career-high 26 points and seven rebounds.
With Henderson’s improved play, he and Singler have formed an impressive 1-2 punch. Singler, who leads Duke with 16.8 points per game, is averaging 18.1 points and 8.7 rebounds in his last seven contests.
Maryland is paced by junior guard Greivis Vasquez, who leads the team in scoring (17.0), rebounding (6.0), assists (4.8) and steals (1.6). Vasquez, however, has been struggling to find his shot as his team has lost three of five.
He was 5-for-21 from the field in a stunning 66-65 home loss to Morgan State on Jan. 7, and is shooting 28.9 percent in his last five games.
Vasquez had 16 points on 4-of-10 shooting Tuesday in an 84-78 home win over Virginia.
“I still need to find myself on the court, but as a team, it was a great effort,” he said. “It’s a great win.”
Vasquez has performed well against Duke in four career games, averaging 17.8 points and 7.3 assists. He was at his best in Durham on Feb. 13, totaling 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.