Boston College vs. Duke: Preview & Prediction

The Eagles head to Cameron Indoor Stadium, in the strangest game the two teams probably have ever played.
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The Boston College Eagles (2-7) hit the road as they travel to Durham, North Carolina to face off with the #21 Duke Blue Devils (3-2). This will be a game without legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, who will be missing the game as he quarantines after possible exposure to COVID-19. The Eagles will be trying to turn their ship around, and win their first ACC game of the year. 

Time: 8:30 pm
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
TV: ACC Network
Radio: WEEI 850 (TuneIn App)
Current Line: Duke (-12.5)
ESPN Matchup Predictor: Duke has a 83.3% chance of winning this game
Series History: The series has been incredibly lop sided with Duke dominating the series 23-3, and have won 14 out of the last 15. The Eagles have never won at Cameron Indoor Stadium (0-11). The last Boston College win came in 2017, a game the Eagles won 89-84.

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Storyline: How will Duke play without their head coach, and will it matter against a team struggling as hard as Boston College?

Players to Watch: Matthew Hurt

Boston College has been abysmal of late in the paint, giving up almost half of their points close to the net. Hurt seems like a matchup nightmare. A big interior player who can score all over the court, who also shoots exceptionally well from three point range (40.9%). He currently leads the ACC with 18.8 points per game, and has only improved as the season has progressed. Duke is always loaded with talent, but if Boston College wants to stay in this game they are going to need to figure out how to slow down Hurt.  

Three Keys To The Game. 

1. Prevent the Incredibly Long Scoring Droughts: Boston College played pretty well against Louisville minus the two six minute long scoring droughts that basically sealed their fate. Look, droughts happen, it's part of the game, but the Eagles can't be going a 1/3 of the half on these long scoreless runs. Figure out a way to get the ball closer with higher percentage shots, whether that's with Wynston Tabbs or Makai Ashton Langford being aggressive. 

2. Get Wynston Tabbs Going: There is no reason that BC's most talented scorer is averaging around two points a game in the first half over the past week. It's no coincidence that when he starts hitting baskets the Eagles start creeping back into games. Tabbs needs to take more shots early. 

3. Provide Some Sort of Resistance In The Paint. The Eagles have allowed 81.9 points per game this season, and a big reason is poor interior defense. NC State has 46 of their 79 points in the paint, while Louisville had 36 of 76. This struggle is happening on both ends of the court as BC is averaging 22 points in the paint over those two games. The Eagles need to figure out how to not only stop the opposition from getting those easy buckets, but get some themselves.

AJ's Fearless Prediction: When you look at this game on paper you see Boston College vs. Duke, you immediately think blowout. The Eagles are struggling, Duke looks ready to break out. But this game may be closer than one may think. The Eagles are playing poorly, but they are going to pick off a team or two this season that we don't expect....however it won't be tonight. Expect the game to be much closer than the line, but the Eagles will falter late in the game again. Duke 80 Boston College 74