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Men’s Basketball ACC Tournament First Round Preview: Boston College vs Duke

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Eagles look to ward off the Blue Devils

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Miami-Florida Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

BC enters the ACC tournament as the lowest seed and will face the Duke Blue Devils in the 2nd game of the tournament’s first round. The Eagles narrowly lost their regular season matchup against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 82-83, shooting 56% from the floor but committing 20 turnovers. Unlike their first meeting, the Blue Devil’s will have their head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Krzyzewski is about the only part of this 2020-2021 Duke team that resembles that program we are used to seeing.

Duke has long been a perennial ACC and national power but this season the Blue Devils have been average...literally. The Blue Devils finished the regular season with an overall record of 11-11 and a conference record of 9-9. Duke had a top 2 recruiting class entering the season and that talent has not been completely absent but very inconsistent with Covid interruptions certainly not helping (not they’ve helped anybody). The Blue Devils are ranked 2nd in the ACC averaging 75.8 points per game but are also giving up the third most points in the conference (72.3 points per game). Shooting wise, Duke ranks 5th in the ACC in field goal percentage and 7th in terms of 3-point percentage. The player to watch for the Blue Devils is the sophomore forward Matthew Hurt. Hurt is the Blue Devil’s leader in scoring (18.7 points per game), rebounding (6.2 per game), minutes (averaging 32.8 per game), and is second on the team field goal percentage (56%) and three-point shooting percentage (43.7%). Wendell Moore Jr. was Duke’s leading scorer when they played the Eagles back in January but Moore’s production has fallen off since then. However, Moore is still talented and worth keeping an eye on.

The Eagles showed that they were capable of sticking with the Blue Devils back in January but that game was, as so many of BC’s games were, sabotaged by turnovers. BC shot better from the field than Duke, shot better from beyond the arc than Duke, and the teams were pretty much even when it came to rebounds (BC 35, Duke 36). How big of a difference will Coach K’s presence on the Duke bench be? The better question is how does Duke’s current predicament change their approach? This is not some regular season conference home game. The Blue Devils pretty much have to win the ACC tournament to have a chance of making the big dance in March. The Eagles will not be able to sneak up on the Blue Devils and won’t be able to catch them napping, because Duke is backed into a corner at the moment. Yet, the Eagles do have a chance...if they can not turn the ball over...big IF.

Score Prediction

BC - 74 Duke -81