Game Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs Boston College Eagles

Brian HoraceGame PreviewsLeave a Comment

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Duke (10-0, 0-0)

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Boston College (6-3, 0-0)

When: Dec. 9 | 12:00 PM (ET)
Where: Chestnut Hill, MA / Conte Forum
Watch Live: ESPN

Duke visits the Boston College Eagles Saturday in their first ACC game of the season. Boston College enters the game at 6-3 and Duke comes in at 11-0. The Eagles are playing good basketball this season and boast a stellar backcourt. The Eagles start: 2 juniors, 2 sophomores and a freshman in Steffon Mitchell. They are led by junior guard Jerome Robinson who, listed at 6'7, is a good driver and a skilled finisher in traffic at the rim, he averages 16 points and 3 assists a game and shoots 42.5% from 3 point range. Ky Bowman leads the Eagles in assists at 5.4 a game and averages just under 16 point a game. Bowman is skilled at delivering the ball in traffic and threads the needle as good as any guard in the country. Justin Chatman rounds out the starting guards for BC, averaging 10 points a game and just under an assist per contest. Deontae Hawkins, who added a wealth of front-court skill and talent to complement what some believe is the best backcourt in the ACC, suffered a knee injury and has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Hawkins was averaging 12 points and 9 rebounds a game for BC. Steffon Mitchell and Nik Popovic will most likely handle the starting duties at forward. Popovic is averaging 9 points and 6 rebounds and Mitchell is putting up just under 6 points and 7 boards a game for the Eagles.

The Blue Devils enter Chestnut Hill leading the nation in assists, total rebounding, offensive rebounding as well. Led in scoring and rebounding by freshman Marvin Bagley who is putting up 21 points and 11 rebounds a game. The leader on the floor for Duke is senior guard Grayson Allen - while not an overly communicative player on the court his fearless play and ability to rally his team and hit shots in crunch time has served this young squad well. Allen is averaging 17 points and 4 assists a game so far in his senior campaign. Duke boasts 3 other double figure scorers in guard Gary Trent Jr (11.9), Wendell Carter (12.8) and Trevon Duval (12.5). Duval is averaging 7 assists a game and Wendell Carter 8.9 boards.

The strength of this team is post play and Duke will try to combat the Eagles's strong guard play with a heavy dose of points in the paint. Guard play is not necessarily a weakness on this Duke team but in a true road game freshmen Trent an Duval will be tested. Trent has used Duke's latest home stand to shoot himself out of an offensive slump and Duval while leading Duke in assists is prone to make a bad decision here and there. They will have to level-up against the BC guards. Despite Duke's lofty ranking, the Eagles come in with a week of preparation time. Boston college may very well could be the stiffest challenge in terms of backcourt play the Blue Devils have faced this season to date.

As a team the Eagles are shooting 31% from beyond the arc but are streaky and do a good job of moving the basketball. They will push tempo against Duke and try to beat them down the floor on misses or makes. With so much attention being made to how tired this Duke team is, BC will test that theory. Also, Duke has been subpar, this season, in transition defense and BC will look to exploit the weakness. Both Mitchell and Popovic are excellent at running the floor and Duke bigs will have not only be cognizant of where they are but defend against transition outlets as the BC guards are excellent rebounders. Wendell Carter and Marvin Bagley will have to really zone in on defense. Carter especially has been riddled with foul trouble recently and BC will definitely attack this perceived weakness. Duke has also been susceptible to straight line drives which is a strength of the Eagles backcourt. The Eagles, however, do not have a ton of depth behind their starters and Duke may have an advantage there depending on how quickly they start this game. If Duke does have a slow start then expect the starters to log heavy minutes but if the Devils can secure a working lead then Coach K will have the option of shuffling his lineup and run fresh bodies at BC, this could hopefully curb any issues with bigs and foul trouble.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Duke:

F Marvin Bagley III
F Wendell Carter Jr.
G Gary Trent Jr.
G Grayson Allen
G Trevon Duval

 


Boston College:

F Nik Popovic
F Steffon Mitchell
G Ky Bowman
G Jordan Chatman
G Jerome Robinson

Duke FG Percentage
51.3%
Boston College FG Percentage
44.9%
Duke 3pt Percentage
36.1%
Boston College 3pt Percentage
31.8%
Duke FT Percentage
69.1%
Boston College FT Percentage
71.4%
Duke Scoring Average
94.4
Boston College Scoring Average
75.4

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