PREVIEW: Duke (11-2) v. Boston College (7-6)

The Blue Devils will open the 2016 ACC Regular season on the road against Boston College. The Eagles come into the game on a four game winning streak.

7-6 Overall, 0-0 Conference 


G- 03 Eli Carter (17.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.5 apg)
G- 01 Jerome Robinson (12.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
C- 24 Dennis Clifford (9.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
F- 11 A.J. Turner (6.8 ppg, 3.6 apg)
F- 10 Ervins Meznieks (5.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg)



Eli Carter played two seasons for Billy Donovan at Florida after playing his first two years at Rutgers.  He graduated and transferred to Boston College for one final year of eligibility.  Before moving to Gainesville, Carter was the Scarlet Knights’ leading scorer, and while his scoring ability was slowed at a higher caliber program, Carter still managed to earn 17 starts for the Gators and averaged just under nine points.  

In 13 games Carter has scored in double figures 12 times and is coming off a 28 point performance against New Hampshire in the Eagles’ most recent game.  For as many points as Carter has scored, he’s struggled from the perimeter (29 percent) and the free throw line as well (69 percent).

Manning the post is senior big man Dennis Clifford, a 7-footer who, like Duke’s Marshall Plumlee, does the dirty work inside.  He’s averaging just over seven rebounds per game for the Eagles.  Again, like Plumlee, he’s most comfortable playing between 20-25 minutes per game.  



Boston College began the season winning three straight over two cupcakes and then a severely depleted Harvard team.  Following those games the competition level ramped up and the Eagles didn’t respond, losing six straight games to Michigan State (by 31), UC-Irvine, Santa Clara (by 17), Penn State, Mass Lowell, and then Providence (by 15).  

Following the loss to the Friars, things have picked up as the competition level has once again seemed to slide.  Boston College has won four straight against Delaware, Maine, Fordham, and New Hampshire.  The most recent win came in overtime after Jaleen Smith’s three pointer saved the Eagles and forced overtime with eight seconds remaining.  


The Eagle starting five is similar to Duke’s in terms of height and strengths.  However, the Eagles are comfortable playing a game with a score in the low to mid-60s.  Duke, on the other hand, is a free flowing, high scoring offensive squad who is happy to play a game well into the high 80s.  

The Blue Devils have scored 100 or more points in back to back games, while Boston College has scored more than 70 points just three times this year - and only once following the first two games of the year.  

On the season Duke ranks second in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency while the Eagles sit 268th.


While freshman big man Chase Jeter has shown occasional flashes, the former five star recruit is likely on the outside looking in for games that are tightly contested for Duke.  At least for now, which means that the Blue Devils will proceed into the first portion of the ACC schedule with a six man rotation.  

Meanwhile, the Eagles are getting very good production out of their bench on the season. BC has averaged 19.2 points off the bench in the first 13 games of the season, with a season high 35 points from the reserves against Maine.  It’s a marked departure from a season ago when Boston College got a mere 8.6 points per game from the non-starters.  


- Duke is 27-8 in ACC openers under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, including a 10-4 mark when opening league play on the road.

- Duke is averaging an ACC-best 8.6 three-point field goals per game. Matt Jones ranks in the top five in the ACC in both threes per game (2.8) and three-point percentage (.456).

- Duke leads the ACC and ranks 22nd nationally with an average of 5.8 blocks per game as Marshall Plumlee is averaging a career-best 2.1 per contest.  

- Duke has scored nearly a quarter of its points this season at the free throw line (22.8 percent). The Blue Devils have made 59 more free throws (264) than its opponents have attempted (205).

- Since Dec. 15, Brandon Ingram has averaged 20.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals. In 139 minutes played during that stretch, he has committed just one turnover.

- Despite playing four freshmen in its seven-man rotation, Duke ranks seventh nationally with an average of just 9.8 turnovers per game. The Blue Devils turn the ball over on just 13.8 percent of its offensive possessions, the fourth- best rate in the country.

They Said It:

“You cannot win in a league that we play in without scoring” - BC Coach Jim Christian

“We have good scorers, and if we're ready and play off one another, we have the ability to put points up” - Mike Krzyzewski

The Prediction

The Eagles’ roller coaster of a season has hinged largely on the team’s inability to score the basketball.  Carter is certainly a guy who can light up a score board, but when he does his teammates have been very quick to defer on nearly every opportunity.   That makes the team one dimensional, and somewhat easy to defend.  And while this Duke team isn’t a defensive juggernaut, they can make it tough on opponents with the ability to put up points in a hurry.  But will they be able to in Conte Forum?  It’s a place where Duke has struggled in the past - both with the environment and the style of play employed by the various Eagle teams over the years.  There’s not denying which team is more naturally talented, but Duke has a number of things to worry about as well.  The roster is largely in experienced when it comes to playing meaningful minutes in conference games, and the depth chart just, well, a chart.  Depth has been lacking.  Despite that, we’d expect the Blue Devils to play well enough to get a first conference victory, with a mid-game run ultimately proving to be the difference.  The pick…

Duke - 84
Boston College - 68

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