Ladies and lads, here’s Mr. Irrelevant Maryland sports correspondent Andy Peden.
Wednesday’s Maryland-Duke game is billed as a showdown for both the ACC regular-season title and ACC Player of the Year. Over the past 56 years of the ACC, 71 percent of its POY winners have come from a team that finished first or second in the conference. Based on that history along with Va. Tech falling off (thus eliminating Malcolm Delaney), this year’s POY race comes down to the best player from either MD or Duke.
For MD, it’s pretty easy; it’s Greivis Vasquez. For Duke, it’s Jon Scheyer, but it’s not as clear cut. Entering the ACC schedule Scheyer was clearly their best player and the leading candidate for POY. But 14 games into the ACC Duke has become more balanced while Vasquez has blown up.
If you think about what they mean to their team, it’s safe to say Vasquez is everything to MD. After Vasquez’s 22.1 points per game, MD’s next highest scorer is Milbourne at 10.9. Duke has three players averaging 17-plus. Scheyer is going to be first-team All-ACC because of how steady he is, but he hasn’t scored more than 24 points or had more than seven assists or five rebounds in a game. Basically, there isn’t a game where you said, “Wow, Scheyer won that game for Duke.” However, it’s safe to say that Vasquez almost single-handedly won the VT game (33 points in second half/OT), UVA (25 in first half) and UNC (26 and 11 assists). Vasquez has five games with at least 26 points, four games with at least seven rebounds and five games with at least eight assists (including 13 against Clemson).
Here are Vasquez and Scheyer’s stats in ACC play. The numbers aren’t close — Vasquez has him in points, rebounds, assists and FG percentage:
(Ed. note: I flubbed the chart but don’t feel like redoing it; Scheyer’s 3PT% should be .398 and FT& should be FT%. That is all.)
Duke is the best team in the ACC, and the trio of Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith is unmatched. All three are going to be first or second-team All-ACC while MD may have Vasquez as POY but no one else on the first three All-ACC teams.
This will make for a great match-up Wednesday night, a game that will determine the ACC title but not POY. That race officially ended last Saturday when Vasquez dropped 41 against VT.