Duke (13-2) vs Boston College (10-6)
Durham, N.C. - Cameron Indoor Stadium
TV: ESPN / Tip: 7:00 PM EST
Program Vitals Conference: ACC Nickname: Eagels Colors: Maroon & Gold Head Coach: Al Skinner (13th season) Career Record at Boston College: 242-154
Projected Starters: 11 Corey Raji (6-6, 220, Jr.) – 12.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg 12 Joe Trapani (6-8, 230, Jr.) – 15.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg 0 Reggie Jackson (6-3, 200, So.) – 13.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 4.3 apg 5 Biko Paris (6-1, 200, Jr.) – 7.1 ppg, 5.4 apg 15 Rakim Sanders (6-5, 230, Jr.) - 11.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg Key Reserves: 21 Tyler Roche (6-7, 220, Sr.) – 7.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg 52 Josh Southern (6-10, 250, Jr.) – 6.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg 30 Dallas Elmore (6-5, 210, So.) – 3.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg 24 Evan Ravenel (6-8, 255, So.) - 3.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Story Lines For Boston College:
How They Got Here:
The Eagles come calling to Cameron hafted losing two of their last three including a 52-51 setback to Maine on January 2nd. IN ACC play the Eagles have defeated Miami by one back in early December, but were blown out at Clemson by a score of 72-56 on Saturday.
Duke is also coming off a loss - to Georgia Tech in Atlanta - that saw the Blue Devils thoroughly dominated on the boards and overall in the second half. Tired legs and a ridiculously talented and athletic Yellow Jacket frontline wore Mike Krzyzewski's team down over the course of the second half and eventually had enough to hold on.
Duke owns a 10-2 advantage in the all-time series which includes a 2-0 record against the Eagles in the ACC Tournament. Last season Boston College earned their second victory in the series by defeated Duke at home by an 80-74 score on Feb 15th. The Blue Devils got revenge for that loss a month later by beating BC by one in the ACC quarterfinals. The Eagles have never defeated the Blue Devils in games played at Cameron Indoor Stadium - losing all four of those contests.
Both teams appear to be relatively healthy heading into Saturday's game.
The Eagles have a number of players with experience against the Blue Devils including junior Joe Trapani who has been a handful for Duke each time he's gotten on the floor. The 6'6 third year player has averaged 16.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in his career against Duke. He's not the only Eagle to give Duke defensive trouble, either. Rakim Sanders has hit Duke for 9.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest while Biko Paris has chipped in with 8.7 points and 2.7 assists over the course of his career. Reggie Jackson and Corey Raji have also shown up in the statsheets versus the Blue Devils, averaging 7.5 and 5.0 points per game. Raji has also grabbed 6.5 boards per contest.
Dont' Expect A High Scoring Game:
Prior to the ACC season the Blue Devils were torching teams for more than 85 points per contest while topping the century mark several times. In two conference battles, however, Duke is scoring just 70.5 points per contest. Some of that slow down can be credited toward a pair of very athletic and defensive minded opponents (Clemson & Georgia Tech) and some of it is the result of an offensive slump by pre-season All-American projection, Kyle Singler. The 6'8 junior forward has move to the wing and has struggled to find his offensive game. So far he's shooting just 34.7 percent from the perimeter. Though he ranks fourth on the team in three pointers made, he's second with 72 attempts.
If Duke is looking to get Singler - and the offense as a whole - going against the Eagles, it's not going to be easy. Boston College enters the game allowing just 63.7 points per game this season. Much of that low scoring allowance has to do with pressure on the ball and slowing the offensive tempo significantly. The Eagles are forcing just 12 turnovers per game, but are holding their opponents to 41.7 percent from the field as a whole.
While the defensive efforts are usually solid, the Eagles struggle on the offensive end of the floor and make their living off of blue collar efforts. That starts on the glass where BC has an ACC-leading +8.7 rebounds per game average. The team has out-rebounded their opponents by double figures in 10 of the 16 games this season. Most notable was the game against Miami on December 6th when the Eagles owned the glass against the Hurricanes to the tune of 46-21.
When in the half court, the Eagles are not a particularly strong three point shooting team, shooting just 31.6 percent from the perimeter this season. Trapani is the team's most reliable perimeter threat - hitting a team high 27 shots in the 16 games so far. As a team the Eagles are hitting an average of five of 16 from the perimeter per contest.
Just One Senior:
After missing a pair of games, lone senior Tyler Roche returned to his team on December 30th against South Carolina. In that game he hit for nine points and four rebounds. The 6'7 fourth year player is shooting 50 percent from the field and has shown the ability to put up points in bunches as evidenced by his career high 30 points in the season opener against Dartmouth (on 10-of-12 shooting).
Watch Out For...
While Trapani is a known commodity to the Duke defense, classmate Corey Raji has been another player that has been very good for Coach Skinner this season. The 6'6, 220 pound junior may not have the ideal height for such an accomplished rebounder, but he makes up for it with toughness. So far he's averaging just under 13 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and has scored 20 or more points twice including a season best 24 point effort against Michigan last month. Where Raji is particularly dangerous is on the offensive glass. Whenever a shot goes up the Blue Devils must box out and keep an eye on the Eagle junior. Through his first two seasons Raji had collected 343 total boards with 174 of those coming on the offensive end. That trend has continued this season as he's hauled in 59 offensive boards (against 45 defensive) to rank second in the conference with 4.2 offensive rebounds per game.
The Blue Devils' loss in Atlanta was hardly what most analysts would consider a "bad" loss. The Yellow Jackets have a front court that will likely be highly considered in this year's NBA Draft. Plus Duke didn't shoot overly well - partly because of the Tech defense and partly because of poor shot selection. Still, the loss certainly puts some extra pressure on Wednesday's game. Especially since it's at home. If the Blue Devils want to contend for the ACC's regular season championship, they simply must hold serve at home. It won't be easy against an experienced Boston College team. On paper the Blue Devils should be able to win this game easily, but that will depend on getting Singler out of, quite possibly, the worst offensive slump of his career. If the Blue Devils can get Singler going - which may include him setting up shop near the post at times on the offensive end - then Duke should be able to win this one. If the Blue Devils get frustrated and revert to some of the shot selection seen in the second half against the Yellow Jackets, the result could be in doubt.
Boston College 61