ACC Championship Preview: BC

The Blue Devils will look for their seventh title in the last eight years when they confront Boston College on Sunday. Duke is in the ACC Title Game for the ninth straight season. Tip off is scheduled for 1:00 PM EST.

1 Duke (29-3, 16-2) vs. 3 Boston College (26-6, 13-5)
Greensboro, N.C. – Greensboro Coliseum
1 p.m., ESPN

Program Vitals
Nickname: Eagles
Colors: Crimson, Gold, & White
Head Coach: Al Skinner (9th year)
Career Record at Boston College: 173-106 (311-232 overall)
This Season: Duke-83, Boston College-81

Projected Starters:
11 Louis Hinnant (6-4, 190, Sr.) – 6.9 ppg, 4.4 apg
23 Sean Marshall (6-6, 212, Jr.) – 11.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg
 3 Jared Dudley (6-7, 225, Jr.) – 16.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg
 1 Craig Smith (6-7, 250, Sr.) – 17.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg
32 John Oates (6-10, 255, So.) - 3.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg

Key Reserves:
 4 Tyrese Rice (6-0, 183, Fr.) – 9.5 ppg, 2.5 apg
 5 Akida McLain (6-8, 220, So.) – 4.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg
00 Marquez Haynes (6-3, 185, Fr.) – 2.6 ppg
51 Sean Williams (6-10, 230, So.) – 2.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg

"I don't think we're crashing their party. We're all part of a new league and you might as well get used to this. There are some new people in town and you will hopefully welcome us with open arms. I'm not just talking about BC, but Miami and Virginia Tech. This league has evolved and hopefully we bring some credibility to it and people will appreciate the quality of basketball we're playing, as well as the other two schools." – Al Skinner

People were just looking forward to this. They understand that we are kind of the underdogs. Nobody in this building is really rooting for us. I think guys use that as a motivating factor. – Louis Hinnant


Crashing The Party: Despite what Eagles' coach Al Skinner said in his semifinal post game press conference, his team is playing up the angle of being the underdogs. With the tournament on Tobacco Road, and the upstart Tar Heels playing so well down the stretch, many fans were looking forward to a third Duke-North Carolina bout in the Championship Round. Instead the Eagles continued their string of strong play and have marched into Greensboro and the finals.

In all the Eagles have won 10 of their last 12 games, and five straight after losing at Virginia by 14 on February 21.

Dynamic Duo: Any defensive scheme set up to slow down the Eagles has to start with Craig Smith and Jared Dudley, both of whom were named first-team All-Big East last season. Smith, who stands 6-foot-7, operates almost exclusively in the paint where he uses everyone of his 250lbs to muscle his way around, and sometimes through, opposing big men. He suffered from foul problems in the first match up, scoring just eight points to go along with eight rebounds before fouling out.

Meanwhile Dudley is able to operate inside or outside depending on the defender he draws. At 6-foot-7 he's proven the ability to serve as Coach Skinner's ‘go-to-guy' throughout his career. In the first match up with Duke, Dudley torched the Devils for 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting while playing the entire 40 minutes.

The Series: Boston College has a 1-5 all-time record against Duke. The two teams had not met in 10 years before playing a home-and-home series in 2000-01 and 2001-02. In the most recent meeting, the top-ranked Blue Devils earned an 83-81 victory in Conte Forum (February 1) behind a combined 49 points from J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams.

Josh McRoberts (14) and Sean Dockery (12) were also in double figures as the Blue Devils fended off a furious BC rally. The Eagles had been down by as many as 18 before rallying back behind Dudley's brilliance.

Duke Notes:

- Duke's Mike Krzyzewski became the 11th coach in NCAA history to win 750 career games with the win over Wake Forest in the 2006 ACC Tournament semifinals. Arizona's Lute Olson was the latest coach to accomplish the feat earlier this season and has 758 career wins headed into action today while Ed Diddle is ninth on the NCAA list with 759 wins.

- Duke's J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams each have 59 career victories against ACC competition, tied for fifth most in Duke and ACC history along with Daniel Ewing and Nick Horvath. Duke's Nate James is fourth on the list with 61 career victories. Additionally, Sean Dockery has 55, tied with North Carolina's Sam Perkins for 10th most in ACC history. Perkins is the top non-Blue Devil on the ACC list.

- Redick has the unique distinction of setting the same NCAA record against the same opponent twice in the same season. Against Wake Forest on Feb. 14, 2006, Redick surpassed the ACC and NCAA record of 413 career three-pointers held by Virginia's Curtis Staples. During last week's MAAC tournament, St. Peter's Keydren Clark caught up to Redick and currently has 435. Redick tied Clark in the first round game against Miami and with three against Wake Forest, now has the lead again with 438. Even more ironic, Staples was in attendance for Redick's record in each game, as well, as he was honored as Virginia's ACC Legend at halftime. Staples presented Redick with a game ball after Duke's win on Feb. 14.

- After becoming the fifth player in ACC history and 17th in NCAA history to record 400 career blocks, Shelden Williams has the distinction of being the only player in NCAA history to record 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 blocks and 150 steals in a career.

- Duke will compete in its ninth straight ACC Tournament Championship game on Sunday. The Blue Devils are looking for a seventh title in eight years and are 22-1 in the event since 1998. Coach Krzyzewski now has 41 career ACC Tournament victories, second most in tournament history and 26 more than any other active coach.

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