Game Preview by @RandyDunson – Duke Blue Devils vs. Boston College Eagles

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Game Preview

#8/8 Duke Blue Devils [13-2, 1-1] vs. #UR Boston College Eagles [8-7, 1-1]

January 7, 2016 • 2:00 PM ET • Durham, NC • Cameron Indoor Stadium

Media: RSN Network, Watch ESPN Link, Blue Devil IMG Sports Network

By Randy Dunson [Note: Please direct comments, suggestions, etc. to @RandyDunson]

Team Overviews

Duke

Krzyzewski had successful surgery Friday to remove a fragment of a herniated disk from his lower back, and at times, his discomfort seemed apparent: The soon-to-be 70-year-old appeared to hobble on his left leg, at times leaning back on the bench with that leg extended, and clutching it. He said it has been bothering him for roughly a month.

“The biggest thing for me … is how tired you get because of pain,” Krzyzewski said. “Even tonight, you’re just in pain all the time. You just want to punch it, but then you’re punching yourself. I’m ready to have this taken care of.”

No. 8/8 Duke will look to run its winning streak against Boston College to 11 games when it hosts the Eagles on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday will mark Jeff Capel’s first game as acting head coach while Mike Krzyzewski recovers from lower back surgery.

Notables:

  • Led by Luke Kennard (21.0), Duke has five players averaging double figures and ranks fourth nationally in offensive efficiency per KenPom.
  • Kennard ranks third in the ACC in scoring at 21.0 points per game. He has reached double figures in 17 consecutive games dating to the 2016 NCAA Tournament. His active streak of 18 straight games with a three-pointer is the longest in the ACC. The run started on March 17, 2016.
  • Amile Jefferson leads the ACC in field goal percentage (.624) and ranks second in rebounds (10.6). His eight 10+-rebound games on the year are second most in the league. Over the seven games since he made his collegiate debut, Jayson Tatum leads Duke in blocks (1.9) and shares the team lead in steals (1.9) per game.
  • Tatum also ranks second on the team in scoring (16.3) and has reached double figures in all seven games. In his last four games played, Grayson Allen is averaging 16.0 points while shooting .500 from the floor and .400 from deep. He also owns a 4.00 assist-to-turnover ratio (12 assists, 3 TO).

Probable Starters

Guard – Junior Grayson Allen

Guard –Sophomore Luke Kennard

Forward – Freshman Jayson Tatum

Forward – Freshman Harry Giles

Forward – Grad Student Amile Jefferson

Boston College

Boston College returns to the state of North Carolina to take on #8/8 Duke on Saturday at 2 PM at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Eagles are coming off of a 79-66 loss at Wake Forest on Tuesday after going 5-for-30 from 3-point land. BC shot 16-for-26 from long range in its win against Syracuse two days before.

Duke is also 1-1 in ACC play after taking down Georgia Tech Wednesday at home, 110-57. The Blue Devils lost their league opener at Virginia Tech, 89-75.

Freshman Ky Bowman has won the last two ACC Freshman of the Week awards. He shared this week’s honor with Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie.

Boston College, Duke, and North Carolina have each earned three player of the week honors this year, which is the most in the conference.

In the last four games, Bowman is averaging 23.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. He is shooting 56 percent from the floor and 48 percent from long range. Sophomore Jerome Robinson ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring (20.6) and is 30th nationally, and leads the conference with 11 20-point games. Sophomore A.J. Turner ranks first in the ACC in assist/turnover ratio (3.39) and that ranks 16th in the country.

Notables:

  • NA

Probable Starters

Guard – Freshman Ky Bowman

Guard – Sophomore Jerome Robinson

Forward – Sophomore A.J. Turner

Forward – Grad Student Connar Tava

Forward – Grad Student Mo Jeffers

Last Time Out

Duke

Grayson Allen had 15 points and seven assists in his return from a one-game suspension and No. 8 Duke routed Georgia Tech 110-57 on Wednesday night in Mike Krzyzewski’s final game before leaving the team to have back surgery.

It’s been a week full of surprises at Duke, where the announcement of Coach K’s imminent, if temporary, departure was rivaled by the end of Allen’s suspension — a move Krzyzewski said was “appropriate” after discussions with athletic director Kevin White.

Jayson Tatum scored 19 points to lead the Blue Devils (13-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had seven double-figure scorers in arguably their most complete performance of the season. Luke Kennard finished with 16 points, Frank Jackson added 15 and Harry Giles had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Duke.

Justin Moore was one of three players with 11 points for the Yellow Jackets (9-5, 1-1).

This was Krzyzewski’s last game prior to having back surgery. The Blue Devils expect him back in roughly four weeks and until then, they will put associate head coach Jeff Capel in charge.

Duke took control with an early 29-7 run, needed about 10 1/2 minutes to build a 20-point lead and scored a season-best 61 points in the first half — only two fewer than rival North Carolina scored on the Yellow Jackets in an entire game.

Notables:

  • Joining Allen in the starting lineup was Giles, a prized recruit who made his first start. Therefore, now that the Blue Devils have a relatively full roster of players, the focus shifts to how they’ll respond to being without their Hall of Fame coach for a while.
  • With Allen back and serving as the primary facilitator, the Blue Devils seemed more willing to make the extra pass. Duke finished with a season-high 24 assists — 12 during that dominant first half — after having just eight without Allen in an 89-75 loss at Virginia Tech four days earlier.
  • Duke reached the 100-point mark in an ACC game for the first time since a 101-91 victory over Wake Forest in 2009. … Allen finished one assist shy of the career high he set December 6 against Florida. … ACC officials said the 53-point margin was the fifth largest in a conference game.
  • Capel’s first game of the season in charge of the Blue Devils comes Saturday when Boston College visits. After that, road games at No. 12 Florida State and No. 9 Louisville.

Boston College

In BC’s last game, Sophomore Jerome Robinson scored a game-high 20 points while adding six rebounds. Freshman Ky Bowman recorded 14 points, six rebounds and four assists, and Sophomore A.J. Turner posted 11 points.

Both teams held a lead of five points in the first half and it was tight for the first 20 minutes with nine lead changes. Boston College took a 37-35 lead into the locker room as Robinson hit a jumper for the final points of the half.

Wake Forest made the first and only run of the game, scoring 14-straight points to take a 56-45 lead midway through the second half.

That sparked a 24-5 run that brought the lead to 66-50. The Wake Forest lead was double digits the rest of the way.

Notables:

  • Ties: 3
  • Lead Changes: 10
  • Largest Lead: BC by 5 1st-10:38; WF by 16 2nd-5:57
  • BC led for: 20:07
  • WF led for: 18:07
  • Game was tied for: 1:46

Head-to-Head

Boston College is just 2-19 in 21 all-time meetings against Duke.

The Blue Devils have won each of the last 10 meetings in the series, including an 81-64 triumph at Conte Forum last season.

The last Boston College win came on February 15, 2009 – an 80-74 win at Conte Forum. Tyrese Rice and Joe Trapani combined for 41 points in that victory.

The other BC win came in the 1985 NCAA Tournament – a 74-73 decision in Houston, Texas.

BC is 0-8 all time at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Statistics

[National ranking in parentheses.]

Clearly when just looking at statistical comparisons, Duke overwhelms BC in the majority of the categories noted here. There are several that illustrate this dominance nicely: scoring margin, rebound margin, FT%, & TO/GM (margin). These are key.

Duke

2016-17 Regular Season Key Stats Comparison Boston College
21.3 (3) PPG (Scoring Margin) 1.3 (200)
63.3 (25) Opponents PPG 72.7 (184)
55.1 (33) Effective FG% 52.1 (98)
48.4 (27) FG% 45.4 (104)
40.1 (51) Opponent FG% 42.7 (136)
36.8 (94) 3PT FG% 38.5 (52)
29.2 (16) Opponent 3PT FG% 29.9 (24)
8.1 (18) RPG (Rebound Margin) 2.1 (152)
32.4 (24) Opponent RPG 35.5 (114)
73.9 (62) FT% 64.1 (304)
14.0 (132) APG 16.7 (31)
5.9 (7) SPG (%) 10.9 (320)
3.3 (39) Turnovers Per Game (Margin) -1.7 (274)
14.3 (108) Opponent TOPG 13.7 (162)
4.7 (54) BPG 3.6 (137)
16.9 (46) Fouls Per Game 19.3 (183)

Four Factors to Winning

[If you wish to learn more about how the four factors are calculated and implemented, a description can always be found here, https://www.dukeblogger.com/four-factors-winning/.]

Note: Numbers in parentheses are D-1 Average

Duke

eFG& TO% OR% FTRate
55.1 (33) 15.5 (13) 35.5 (34) 39.1 (95)

Boston College

eFG& TO% OR% FTRate
52.1 (98) 21.0 (281) 27.6 (327) 36.1 (133)

Duke clearly outranks BC in all categories, most particularly on the offensive boards & the percentage that BC turns the ball over. Duke should be able to turn many of these miscues into points.

Summary

Duke may have lost coach Mike Krzyzewski for at least a month due to back surgery, but they brought back All-American guard Grayson Allen from an indefinite suspension where he missed one game. Allen scored 15 points in 27 minutes in the Blue Devils, 110-57 win over Georgia tech on Wednesday from Durham. Boston College is coming off a 79-66 road loss to Wake Forest on Tuesday. Last season, the Eagles fell to Duke at home, 81-64 in their one meeting. Both teams are 1-1 in the ACC when they meet on Saturday from Chestnut Hill.

While Allen has had his ups and downs this season, sophomore guard Luke Kennard has been the team’s best player. Kennard is averaging 21 points per game and 5.9 rebounds, and scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the blowout of the Yellow Jackets. Freshman Jayson Tatum (6-8, 205) led the way with 19 points, two blocks, and four assists. Freshman Harry Giles (6-10, 240) had his best game since debuting due to a knee injury. He had 10 points and 12 rebounds, all career-highs against Georgia Tech. The Blue Devils shot 55.7 percent from the floor and 16-of-31 (51.6%) from beyond the arc. They also outrebounded the Yellow Jackets by 18. They held Georgia Tech to just 34.9 percent shooting from the field and 2-of-14 from the three-point line.

Duke averages 84.7 points per game and shoots 48.4 percent from the field. They rank 19th in rebound margin at +8.1. They allow 63.3 points per game and 40.1 percent from the field (29.2% 3PT). Tatum, who has played just seven games, ranks second on the team in scoring with 16.3 points and second in rebounds with 7.3 per game. Allen is averaging 15.9 points per game and shooting just 39.3 percent from the field.

Boston College opened ACC play with a 96-81 win over Syracuse on January 1. Two days later, they traveled down to Winston-Salem to face Wake Forest and fell by 13. The Eagles were outrebounded by 13 and allowed the Demon Deacons to shoot 47.4 percent from the field and 6-of-15 from beyond the arc. Jerome Robinson led the Eagles with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Ky Bowman added 14 points but shot just 3-of-15 from the field and 1-of-8 from the three-point line. The Eagles shot a pitiful 5-of-30 (16.7%) from the three-point line and 36.2 percent from the field overall.

Robinson, a 6-5 sophomore guard, leads B.C. with 20.6 points per game on 46.4 percent shooting and 39.7 percent from beyond the arc. He’s scored 20 or more points in six straight games. Robinson also averages 5.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He has had an issue with turnovers, committing 48 in 15 games. Guard Ky Bowman adds 11.9 points and is shooting 49.6 percent from the field. Defensively, the Eagles are still not, where they need to be. They are allowing 72.7 points per game but they do defend the three well (29.9%). They also shoot the ball well from deep (38.5%) and overall (45.4%).

Notables:

  • Grayson Allen
    • Nothing more to say other than what has been covered above
  • New Boss at the Helm But Will There be Much Difference
    • This will be the first game without Mike Krzyzewski on the bench as he steps away to recover from lower back surgery being conducted today. That means associate head coach Jeff Capel will take the reins of the Blue Devils. The way the Blue Devils react to not having their stalwart leader on the bench will be key.
  • Ball Movement
    • Ball movement has been a focal point for the Blue Devils after running into problems earlier in the year. Duke had 24 assists against Georgia Tech, and moved the ball exceptionally well. BC will need to adjust.

Endgame

Duke should be able to run away with this game against Boston College, there are many things that are aligning for Duke at the right time. The main chess pieces are healthy and I am certain this team will rally around Coach Jeff Capel in his first head coaching stint this year for Coach K. I expect to see a very loose team playing in Cameron and look for increased minutes for both Harry Giles and Marques Bolden.

Jeff Capel said just yesterday that he did not see stepping in for Coach K as pressure but rather an opportunity, but he also does not see it as an audition. He has been an integral cog in the Duke machine for years and although he has ideas of his own, I would not expect too much of a departure from K’s style and game plan.

Given the pluses and minuses of both teams, I feel that Duke is far superior to BC. I do not expect a letdown from Wednesday night’s demolition of Georgia Tech though I will trim the number of points scored and the margin, 90-70.-