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Next Up: Boston College

As Duke’s post-season hopes hang by a thread

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 02 Duke at Georgia Tech
ATLANTA, GA MARCH 02: The Duke players huddle up during the NCAA basketball game between the Duke Blue Devils and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on March 2nd, 2021 at Hank McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, GA.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

At tournament time it’s a lot harder to write game previews because the turnaround is so quick and, at least for the ACC Tournament, at this point there aren’t many secrets. The teams have played a full season so they generally know what to expect, as do most fans.

  • Date: 3/9
  • Time: 4:30
  • Venue: Greensboro Coliseum
  • Video: ACCN

So we don’t have a whole lot to say about the Duke-BC game but there are a few things to consider.

First, emotion. It’s likely to be a huge part of this game. On the one hand, how will Duke respond after the poor outing in Chapel Hill? And second, how will Boston College respond to the various things that have affected its season?

Second, there’s the overall damage the pandemic did to BC. The Eagles took as many hits as any ACC team has. And Wynston Tabbs was dismissed recently. He’s a solid if erratic talent and while it might have helped team chemistry it limits BC’s options.

Third, we’re not really sure how many Eagles will be at 100 percent. There were games earlier that saw BC with just a handful of scholarship players - that’s 4-15 BC.

Fourth, interim coach Scott Spinelli seems to be having a different connection with this team than Jim Christian did.

And fifth, Boston College no doubt remembers the near miss in Cameron in early January.

Duke was without a quarantined Coach K, true, and coming off a long layoff. Boston College had a 16 point lead in the first half and Duke ultimately won by just one point.

Duke has changed a lot since then. Jalen Johnson was out for that game and he obviously won't be playing in this one since he left the team. Mark Williams started but played just six minutes and Wendell Moore came off the bench after his dreadful early shooting slump.

So there are some major variables.

And consider this too: discounting the Florida State blowout, Boston College has been competitive in four of the last five games. The Eagles lost to Wake Forest by four, Syracuse by eight, beat Notre Dame by four and lost to Miami by four.

BC has had a dreary year but the team is playing hard and clearly hasn’t given up. So we don’t expect them to give up against Duke, either.

And if Duke has a let down after the UNC blowout, you can see how BC could seize the emotional high ground and send Duke home early.

Links for Tuesday are listed separately so head back to the main page to see those.