ACC rematches rarely follow the same script. Duke won the first game with BC, in Durham, 88-49. However, Boston College lacked Nik Popovic, who might have slowed down Vernon Carey, and the Eagles had 19 turnovers and shot just 33.9 percent and 16.7 percent from behind the line. The Eagles even cratered at the free throw line, shooting just 4-11 and had 19 turnovers.
They’re better than that.
Since that game, they beat Virginia, lost to Pitt by two, Virginia Tech by seven and beat UNC in Chapel Hill on Saturday.
Popovic is back and that will certainly help. The Eagles lost Derryck Thornton for a bit with an ankle injury but he's back too.
In short, things are going about as well as you could expect for the Eagles. Their record isn't flashy but
As for Duke, there have been some bumps in the road. Wendell Moore was injured and the Devils lost at Clemson and at home to Louisville.
Moore is back now though and his versatility really changes Duke. Most importantly, as Coach K points out, that means that Iron Man Tre Jones can get some relief.
Moore got hurt in the first Miami game where Jones players just 22 minutes. Since then, he’s played 39, 27 (in a blowout win over Wake Forest), 36, 39, 35, 40 and 40.
Moore and Jordan Goldwire can give him meaningful breaks which will help later in the season.
Regardless of Moore though, Duke’s offensive plan is basic and straightforward: on offense, pound it inside to Vernon Carey, use him to loosen up the outside for the three point shooters and cutters. In his last two games, Carey has averaged 26 ppg and 15 boards.
And on defense, pressure the perimeter and the ball handlers. If you can get the ball into transition fine, but keep them moving and off balance.
There are a lot of little things to watch, like how the guards defend BC’s perimeter, if Cassius Stanley can continue his sharp rise and of course how Moore’s return goes.
In general though, Duke is in a good spot heading down the backstretch of the ACC and goes to Boston College at full strength. That certainly doesn’t guarantee a victory - BC’s record is poor but they’ve been close in most games - but it sure can’t hurt.
- Tripartisan: From LA to Durham - the exceptional talent of Cassius Stanley
- Why the return of Duke’s Wendell Moore’s is key to addressing Coach K’s ‘utmost concern’
- Pieces come together for Blue Devils
- Where Does Tre Jones Rank Among the 10 Cousy Award Candidates?
- How does Cameron Indoor’s environment compare to the Dean Dome?
- No. 7 Duke Heads to Boston College on ESPN’s Super Tuesday
- LIVE STATS
- DUKE GAME NOTES (PDF)