Previewing Boston College

Previewing the Blue Devils and Eagles who will tip off tonight in Cameron Indoor Stadium

Boston College (14-6) vs. Duke (18-1)
Durham, N.C. -- Cameron Indoor Stadium
TV: Raycom 8:00 PM EST (Tim Brando & Mike Gminiski)
MEET THE EAGLES

Head Coach: Steve Donahue (1st Year)
Record at Boston College: 14-6
Career v. Duke: 0-0

Projected Starters:
?31 Danny Rubin (6-6, 170 Fr.) – 5.8 ppg, 2.2 apg
12 Joe Trapani (6-8, 232, Sr.) – 14.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg
52 Josh Southern (6-10, 265, Sr.) - 7.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg
0 Reggie Jackson (6-3, 208, Jr.) – 19.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.9 apg
5 Biko Paris (6-1, 195, Sr.) – 10.8 ppg, 3.4 apg

Top Reserves:
11 Corey Raji (6-6, 220, Sr.) – 12.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg
30 Dallas Elmore (6-5, 210, Jr.) – 2.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg
4 Gabe Moton (6-2, 170, Fr.) – 2.4 ppg, 1.0 rpg
20 John Cahill (6-1, 170, Jr.) - 1.0 ppg


Series History: This will be the 15th meeting between the Eagles and Duke with the Blue Devils holding a 12-2 advantage in the all-time series. Duke has won the last three meetings including both games a season ago. The Eagles were thrashed in Cameron by 20, but rallied and pushed the Blue Devils to the limit at Conte Forum later in the year, losing by just three. The previous season Boston College won at Conte by six before the Blue Devils rallied to win in the ACC Tournament by one.

Cameron has been extremely inhospitable for the Eagles as BC has an 0-5 all-time record on Duke's home court. Not only has Boston College never won at Cameron, the Eagles have never kept the final margin in single digits. However, blowouts are not the norm as five of the previous eight games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.

Under head coach Mike Krzyzewski the Blue Devils are 11-2 against the Eagles.

Boston College Roster: Click Here
Boston College Statistics: Click Here
Boston College Schedule: Click Here


PRE-GAME NOTES:

"One of the things we've tried to do this year is try to figure out what's best for this team defensively. And there's no mistaking that it's our Achilles' heel." - Steve Donahue

"The thing that is so impressive about Kyle is how hard he plays. It's kind of easy for a guard to play 40 minutes and not miss a step, because he's basically going foul line to foul line. But when you add the physicality that Kyle plays with and then all the things he tries to do defensively, it's pretty incredible." - Donahue on Kyle Singler

Season To Date: The Eagles enter Cameron Indoor Stadium with a 14-6 overall record and 4-2 conference mark. However, the Eagles have lost two of their previous three contests. Boston College roared out of the gates in the ACC, beating Maryland by four, Georgia Tech by 11, and NC State by nine. The Eagles were tripped, 72-71, by Miami before rallying to beat Virginia by three last week. On Saturday the ACC's top defensive team, Florida State, rolled over the Eagles at home by 16.

On the season the Eagles' signature victory came over Texas A&M, though the luster of that victory has come off with losses to Rhode Island, Yale, and Harvard. If Donahue is hoping to get his team to the NCAA Tournament, a victory over the Blue Devils in Cameron is crucial.

ACC POY Candidate Lives Here: Duke seniors Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith won't be the only candidate for Player of the Year honors on the court. Eagle junior Reggie Jackson has twice been named ACC Player of the Week this season including the week of Jan 11th. During that week he averaged 25.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game.

It wasn't an isolated incident of good play either. Jackson currently ranks among the ACC leaders in seven categories during conference play. He is second in scoring (20.2 ppg), field-goal percentage (fourth, .521), three-point field-goal percentage (tie-fourth, .448), assists (third, 5.3), free-throw percentage (sixth, .872), three-point field goals made (tied-ninth, 2.2) and minutes played (tied-10th, 33.7). Accurate shooting isn't limited to his conference play either. Jackson is shooting 53 percent from the field in all games this year.

Jackson became the 39th player in BC basketball history to reach the 1,000-point milestone when he hit a second-half three-point field goal against Virginia on Jan. 20. He enters tonight's game with 1,018 career points.

Welcome Back: Against Florida State the Eagle offense was held in check, hitting season lows in points, field goals, and field goal percentage. Certainly the Seminole defense played a big part, but the Eagles were also undermanned. Starter Biko Paris missed the game due to illness, while senior Joe Trapani was also slowed with flu-like symptoms. Both are expected to play against the Blue Devils.

Hitting From the Field: As a team the Eagles are putting up points and hitting a high percentage from the field. BC is hitting 48 percent from the field, with a season high of 58 percent from the field against Bryant on December 19th. Aside from Jackson's performance in ACC games, Corey Raji is knocking down 51.7 percent of his shots from the field.

The perimeter shooting is nearly as good with the Eagles hitting 39 percent from the perimeter as a team. Jackson has knocked down a team high 44 perimeter jumpers while Biko Paris has connected on 39 shots. As a team the Eagles have knocked down 10 or more three pointers in nine games this season, though only once in ACC play - against Maryland. On the season the Eagles rank 12th in Division I with 9.1 three pointers made per game. In 11 of the 20 games BC has hit 40 percent or better from the perimeter.

Hitting from the field and the perimeter is good, but games are often won or lost on the free throw line. At the charity stripe the Eagles hit a respectable 72.4 percent from the foul line - the fourth best percentage in the conference. Reggie Jackson, Corey Raji, Biko Paris, Josh Southern and Dallas Elmore all shoot better than 75 percent from the line.

Exceeding Expectations: With a new coach and not a lot of proven commodities, the Eagles were picked to finish 10th in this season's preseason ACC poll. However, the Eagles are in contention for a top five finish in the league thanks to good fundamental basketball.

In addition to shooting well in all facets of the game, Boston College has valued the basketball this season. The Eagles are turning the ball over a conference low 10.5 turnovers through 20 games. That leads the ACC and ranks 5th amongst the 336 Division I programs. In nine of 20 games the Eagles have coughed up the ball fewer than 10 times.

While the team isn't rebounding particularly well (-1.2 margin per game), BC is getting a respectable 18.2 points per game off the bench while ranking third in the ACC in assists per game at 15.5 helpers a night. Defensively the effort has been somewhat inconsistent, but the Eagles have held opponents to 69.1 points per game while forcing 11.0 turnovers per night.

Duke Noteables: The Blue Devils will be looking to move to 18-1 (6-1 ACC) on the season against North Carolina State, but there are some additional notes worth following:

  • Mike Krzyzewski continues to inch closer and closer to his coaching mentor, Bobby Knight on the list of all-time winningest coaches. Krzyzewski enters the game with 886 career victories.
  • The Blue Devils' current 30-game win streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium is the fourth-longest home win streak in program history.
  • Duke has won 52 straight home games against unranked opponents. The Blue Devils' last loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium to an unranked opponent was to Florida State on Feb. 4, 2007.
  • Duke has won 24 consecutive games in the state of North Carolina. The Blue Devils' last loss in the state was at N.C. State on Jan. 20. 2010.
  • Mason Plumlee has raised his rebound average by 5.5 rebounds per game from a year ago. He ranks fourth in the ACC in rebounding at 8.6 rpg. Plumlee ranks second in league play with 11.0 rpg. and 7.8 defensive rebounds per game. He has grabbed 10 or more rebounds nine times this season, including each of the last four games.
  • Duke has had six different players score 20 or more points in a game. Nolan Smith leads the ACC with nine 20-point scoring games.
  • Ryan Kelly has made 13 consecutive shots from the field, including his last six three-point field goal attempts. He is averaging 10.5 points, while shooting 71.4 percent (15-of-21) from the field over the last four games.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The Eagles will be looking to rebound from the Florida State game where the Seminoles held BC to its lowest totals in points (51), made field goals (17) and field goal percentage (35.4 percent, 17-of-48) this season. The Eagles had been averaging 75.5 points a game on close to 48 percent shooting. The team enters Durham a bit healthier and in need of a signature victory. History is certainly not on the Eagles' side, but Duke has struggled from the field in the last few games which has contributed to slow starts. And while the Eagles are shooting well from the field, they don't rebound the ball overly well which may help the Blue Devils overcome the Eagles' ability to take care of the ball. Look for the Duke to attempt to build on the string of strong performances by Ryan Kelly while looking to get Andre Dawkins back on track. The Eagles are built to grind, but with the defensive troubles they've faced at times it's hard to see Boston College getting the signature victory they need in Cameron.

Prediction:
Duke - 81
Boston College - 69


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