Duke (18-7) vs. Boston College (18-6)
Boston, Mass. (Conte Forum)
9:00 p.m., ESPN
Program Vitals Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference Nickname: Eagles Colors: Maroon and Gold Head Coach: Al Skinner (10th year) Career Record at Boston College: 193-114 (331-240 Overall - 19 years)
Projected Starters: 4 Tyrese Rice (6-1, 190, So.) – 16.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.9 apg 23 Sean Marshall (6-6, 212, Sr.) – 14.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.0 apg 3 Jared Dudley (6-7, 225, Sr.) – 20.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 3.2 apg 34 Shamari Spears (6-6, 245, Fr.) – 8.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg 32 John Oates (6-10, 255, Jr.) – 4.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg Key Reserves: 0 Marquez Haynes (6-3, 185, So.) – 4.5 ppg, 2.0 apg 44 Tyrelle Blair (6-11, 240, Jr.) – 2.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Sunday night's game will mark the ninth time the two teams have met with the Blue Devils holding a 7-1 lead in the series. In January's first match up, the Blue Devils big nights from Josh McRoberts (16 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks) and DeMarcus Nelson (17 points, 8 rebounds) to cruise to a 13 point victory over the Eagles in Cameron.
How They Will Enter The Match Up:
Since falling to Duke, Boston College has failed to lose, while the Blue Devils haven't won a game. The Eagles have beaten Hartford, Virginia Tech, Miami, and Florida State by an average of 15.8 points, while Duke has lost to Virginia, Florida State, North Carolina, and Maryland.
Both teams enter Wednesday night's game with all eligible players healthy.
Who's Hot Since Last Time:
Conference Player of the Year candidate Jared Dudley continues to put up impressive numbers as he has all season. The reigning Player of the Week in the ACC, Dudley has averaged 25.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game since last facing Duke. Classmate Sean Marshall, on the other hand, has cooled off offensively and is averaging 9.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in his last four. Picking up the slack in the backcourt has been point guard Tyrese Rice. The sophomore has torched opponents for 18.8 points and 6.6 assists per game since the game in Cameron Indoor.
Buzzer Beating Momentum Fuels BC:
Despite losing their starting center, the Eagles have been able to maintain their stronghold on the ACC's top position by winning tight games. None was closer than Sunday when Tyrell Blair's 15-foot jumper with 3.3 seconds left gave Boston College a 68-67 victory at Florida State on Sunday, keeping the unranked Eagles in first place. Currently the Eagles are 9-2 in league play, a game up on second place North Carolina in the win column.
How Duke Won Last Time:
The defense was the difference in Cameron as the Blue Devils held BC to just 34.5% shooting from the field on the night. Starting backcourt Sean Marshall and Tyrese Rice combined to shoot just 7-of-26 from the floor. Duke also hit the boards hard, out-rebounding the Eagles by a 41-29 margin, while owning the paint with eight blocks.
Some Streaks Are Dead, Others Are Forming:
For the first time in more than 11 years, the Blue Devils find themselves unranked and assured of the program's worst ACC mark in that time. The Blue Devils fell out of both the AP and Coaches' Poll on Monday after losing to Maryland by 12 in College Park. Since 1984-85, Duke is 93-29 after a loss and this is just the second streak of four straight losses, and since 1996-97, Duke is 46-12 after a loss and this is the first four-game losing streak. This current streak of four games matches the longest streak under Coach K and is just the fourth time a losing streak has reached four games under Coach K and the first time since 1995-96.
Stopping A Wave Of Negatives:
In order for Duke to hault this losing streak the offensive side of the game is going to need to improve many times over. Duke will not only be battling what promises to be a very hostile crowd at the Conte Forum, and not just a talented opponent. Those two things will factor in on top of the wave of negative momentum that seems to have snowballed over the last two and a half weeks. Krzyzewski admitted that his team was knocked back by the atmosphere and hunger of Maryland on Sunday. Something his team will no doubt see again on Wednesday night. If the Blue Devils don't have someone step up and take control, they will be staring directly at the program's longest losing streak under Mike Krzyzewski.
Boston College 70