Preview: Duke (17-3) v. Boston College (14-5)

Previewing the Blue Devils and Eagles who tip off in Cameron on Sunday afternoon in Cameron. The game will be broadcast nationally as the early game in Fox Sports' ACC Sunday Night Hoops.


10 Duke (17-3) vs. Boston College (14-5)
Durham, N.C. (Cameron Indoor Stadium)
5:30 p.m., espn2

Program Vitals
Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference
Nickname: Eagles
Colors: Maroon and Gold 
Head Coach:   Al Skinner  (10th year)
Career Record at Boston College: 189-113 (327-239 Overall - 19 years)

Projected Starters:
 4 Tyrese Rice (6-1, 190, So.) – 16.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.9 apg

23 Sean Marshall (6-6, 212, Sr.) – 16.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 apg
 3 Jared Dudley (6-7, 225, Sr.) – 18.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.1 apg
34 Shamari Spears (6-6, 245, Fr.) – 8.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg
32 John Oates (6-10, 255, Jr.) – 4.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg

Key Reserves:
 0 Marquez Haynes (6-3, 185, So.) – 5.0 ppg, 2.2 apg
44 Tyrelle Blair (6-11, 240, Jr.) – 1.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg

Storylines:

Series History:
Sunday night's game will mark the eighth time the two teams have met with the Blue Devils holding a 6-1 lead in the series. Last season, the Blue Devils earned an 83-81 win in Conte Forum on Feb. 1, 2006, and then downed the Eagles, 78-76, in the championship game of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. Prior to last season, the two teams had last met when the two programs played a home-and-home series in 2000-01 and 2001-02.

How They Will Enter The Match Up:
After losing two rotational players including one starter, the Eagles fell hard at Clemson, 74-54. However, the Eagles used a buzzer beating jumper by Sean Marshall to dispatch Florida State at home and remain as the top team in the conference with a 6-1 overall record. Likewise the Blue Devils will also enter Sunday's game on a high - after using a buzzer beater of their own to make Clemson their fourth straight conference victim after beginning the year 0-2.

Injury Report:
Duke enters the game healthy aside from a few players that have battled colds. Meanwhile the Eagles enter the game healthy as well, but short handed following the suspensions of Sean Williams and Akida McLain. Williams was the team's leading shot blocker and interior presence - averaging 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds.

Eagles Relying on Seniors:
Despite the loss of Williams, the Eagles have a pair of seniors that have accepted and embraced their roles as team leaders in their last go 'rounds. Not surprisingly, Jared Dudley leads the team in scoring (18.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.8 rpg). Sean Marshall, meanwhile, has improved his scoring average (over last year) to 16.3 points per game and his rebounding average to 5.4 rebounds per game .... One of them has led the team in scoring in 13 of this season's 19 contests (and in rebounding in 13 of the 19 games). Dudley, in particular, has given Duke fits in the past, averaging 21.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game against the Blue Devils last season. Marshall averaged 8.0 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in the two games.

Yet Another Good Match Up At Lead Guard:
Sophomore Tyrese Rice has emerged as a versatile and capable point guard for the Eagles. After logging just more than 20 minutes per game last winter, Rice is now playing 34.8 minutes per game this season. Taking over the pointguard Rice is averaging 16.7 points, 5.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game. He currently leads all ACC players in assists per game (6.29 apg in league play). Certainly Florida State found out how good Rice is, after he scored 18 of his game high 26 in the second half while dishing out six assists to help the Eagles win.

Eagles Can Score:
Boston College is hitting for 78.1 points per game (while allowing 70.2) with Rice, Marshall, and Dudley all hitting for double figure points on a nightly basis. Boston College ranks third in the ACC in free-throw percentage. The Eagles are shooting 72.2 percent from the line. BC has attempted 20 or more free throws in 13 games this season - and has made 15 or more free throws in 13 games. Opponents have made 15 or more free throws five times.

Duke Looking To Continue Trends:
Against Clemson,Duke shot 15-of-18 (.833) from the free throw line, including 8-of-8 in the game's final 5:05. The Blue Devils also outrebounded Clemson 40-24, marking the 17th time in 20 games this season, and fifth time in six ACC games, that Duke has outrebounded its opponent. Duke owns a +6.9 rebounding margin over its opponents this season (36.1-to-29.2). The Eagles currently outrebound their opponents by a 4.2 rpg margin. For the second consecutive game, Duke put four or more players in double figures against the Tigers.

Hoping For More:
Despite starting against Clemson, the Blue Devils got just four minutes from Lance Thomas as well as no rebounds, points, assists, or steals. The same was true of freshman center Brian Zoubek.

Several Devils Upping Their Level of Play:
# Sophomore Josh McRoberts recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds and added a pair of steals and assists in 36 minutes of action. It marks his fourth double-double of the season and sixth of his career. Classmate Greg Paulus scored 13 points and had a game-high five assists. He added two rebounds, two steals and a block to his 38-minute performance. Paulus has now reached double figures in nine games this season, including eight of the last 10, and in 20 career contests. Duke is now 19-1 when Paulus scores in double figures.

Prediction:
Duke 74
Boston College 71


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