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Boston College 80, Duke 74: A Devil of a Game

Brian: As Jeff is on his honeymoon this week, we ask our good friend and BC basketball guest blogger Raj to fill in and play Dan LeBatard to Jeff's T.K. I'd also like to thank Bill and Mike for doing a great job filling in for us on Friday. Glad you guys were wrong about your game predictions!

Unfortunately, we were unable to watch the game as we were on the road all day yesterday coming back from South Carolina. However, it provided just as much excitement following the game on ESPN Game Cast from a mobile phone. Being an Eagles fan has got to take years off the end of your life.

Great win for the Eagles! It seems that the key to success to beat teams like Duke and North Carolina is wait for them to go absolutely cold from the field, play good defense and capitalize on their mistakes. A particular poor shooting performance from Duke's junior guard Jon Scheyer, who the Eagles held to just 3 of 12 shooting and an 8 point night. Ken Tysiac of the Raleigh News & Observer says that this simply isn't one of the elite Duke teams we've become accustomed to. Poor guard play, he argues, has been the reason Duke has now lost 3 of 4 and 4 of their last 6 games. Duke may be a flawed team, however, they are still a very good basketball team and this should take nothing away from the Eagles performance last night. BC places another feather in their NCAA tournament resume cap with a win over a Top 10 opponent.

The win pushes Boston College to 19-8, 7-5 ACC. Four regular season games remain. Two road games vs. Miami and NC State, and home games against Florida State and Georgia Tech. So Raj, what do the Eagles have to do from here on out to make the Dance?

Raj: As you like to say, we "control our own destiny." We have four very winnable games, and to guarantee a spot in the Big Dance we have to win at least 2 of these last 4. A win in the first round of the ACC tournament wouldn't hurt either, but shouldn't be necessary with two huge wins over top 5 teams. It's not as simple as just two wins though. One of these two wins needs to come against either Miami (FL) or Florida State, and the losses cannot be blowouts. With two wins, we finish with 21 wins on the season and 9 wins in conference. The tournament committee isn't always the most rational, so let's end the season on a high note and pull out all 4 wins, and play for a seed.

Brian: I agree that the Eagles have to win at least 2 of the last 4, but the tournament selection committee will be looking at the Eagles very closely as they travel to Miami this weekend to face the Hurricanes. There can be no more Harvard letdowns for this team and the team must come out and play competitively against Miami (FL). A blowout loss in Coral Gables would be devastating to the Eagles tournament hopes. However, playing strong late in the season will help the committee wipe the bad taste of that Harvard loss out of their mouths. I think 3 of the last four makes the Eagles a lock - with the one loss to Miami (FL) or maybe FSU, although a home loss hurts us more - and 2 of 4 with a first round victory in the ACC tournament also gets us in.

Raj: All reports are that the atmosphere last night at Conte Forum was electric. After the clock hit 0:00, the students rushed the floor. My question is rushing the court after erasing 24 years of futility against Duke (0-8), fair or foul?

Brian: I definitely think it is fair game. The Eagles came into the game unranked and 7 point dogs on their home court. Reportedly GDF also helped pave the way for the students to let loose and celebrate with the players on the court after the game. I am glad the students got to celebrate with the team as it has been a long time since we took down a Top 10 opponent on our home court as an unranked team. And as you'll remember, we were treated to a similar experience in 2001 when the 20th ranked Eagles upset the 7th ranked Orangemen in Conte.

Although I can't imagine the Phoenix Suns are too happy that Jared Dudley joined the fray and rushed the court with the students. I realize Dudley can box out and throw an elbow or two to hold his ground, but what if he gets hurt?

Last one, this weekend we watched the NBA Slam Dunk competition on Saturday night. It wasn't all that entertaining this year (with the possible exception of Dwight Howard's dunk from off the side of the backboard ... that dunk was filthy). The question is which Eagle - either former or current, from 2000-present - would win an Eagles alumni slam dunk competition?

Raj: BC basketball isn't known for their athleticism, and Skinner does little to showcase it. With the limited exposure to dunks, some BC fans might say John Beerbohm as he was known for his out of bounds alley-oop dunks. Some might even say Sean Marshall as his dunks had a certain nastiness associated with them. I have to side with a guy who didn't see much playing time, but wowed us with his pre-game warm-up dunks. Affectionately referred to as "Udo" - Ludmil Hadjisotirov - this 6-2 guard had calves the size of watermelons and threw down quality dunks every time the team stepped on the court ... to warm-up that is.

Here's a little sampling of his dunking repertoir.

Brian: Udo certainly had some ups. Good pick.

Photo credit and other post game thoughts (Eagle in Atlanta)