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Next Up - Boston College

A long flight and a short turnaround

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Clemson
Feb 10, 2022; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Wendell Moore Jr. (0) shoots the ball against the Clemson Tigers during the second half at Littlejohn Coliseum. 
Dawson Powers-USA TODAY Sports
  • Date: 2/12
  • Time: 5:00
  • Venue: Silvio O. Conte Forum
  • Video: ACCN

Next up for Duke is a quicker than expected turnaround trip to Boston to take on the reviving BC Eagles.

It’s quicker than expected because Duke had to reschedule with Clemson after the Christmas Covid breakout for the Blue Devils.

That means that instead of games scheduled for February 5th, 7th and 12th, counting the Notre Dame schedule, Duke had to play on January 31st (Notre Dame, the other reschedule), Feb. 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th.

And three days after that, it’s Wake Forest.

You might be tempted to say good thing it’s BC, but we would remind you first that last season, the Eagles came within a point of Duke in Cameron and have given Duke trouble at various times in recent seasons.

Second, a lot is being asked of Duke physically. And third: what should we expect of Wendell Moore?

Moore tweeted out that he was fine after the frightening fall he suffered at the hands of Clemson’s David Collins (Collins was suspended for one game Friday as a result) but you try falling like that. He’s likely to have some bruises and soreness. We’re sure he’s gotten treatment but who knows how he’ll feel at game time?

The most important thing about Boston College though is rookie coach Earl Grant. And from what we can tell, though BC does not have a great record, he’s done a tremendous job changing the culture at Boston College. The Eagles are not hugely talented, but they come to play every night and they compete.

Like Duke, BC’s rotation is not deep. The Eagles play about eight guys. The Langford brothers are still around. DeMarr gets the most minutes at 34.6 but Makai (who goes by Ashton-Langford) scores more at 12.5 to 10.6. DeMarr is a slightly better rebounder at 4.5 per game to Makai’s 3.7.

Makai is a 6-3 senior; DeMarr a 6-5 sophomore. Makai gets about 33.2 mpg.

Jaeden Zackary, a 6-2 freshman, is getting 33.4 mpg. He’s a freshman but spent last year at Chipola JC and a year at prep school so he’s older than your average first-year player.

TJ Bickerstaff is a 6-9 junior transfer from Drexel with a basketball family: his father, JB, is an NBA coach currently with the Cavaliers; his grandfather, Bernie, was also an NBA coach.

BC wanted him because he offered some versatility and obviously he should have a broader knowledge of the game than your typical college player.

Brevin Galloway is a 6-2 grad student transfer who followed Grant to BC from Charleston.

James Karnik and Quinten Post are big guy transfers: Karnik, a 6-9/250 senior, was at Lehigh while Post, a 7-0/240 junior, was at Ole Miss.

Kanye Jones rounds out the rotation. He’s a 6-4 freshman.

Look, Duke is obviously favored to win here. The talent differential is huge. Duke has multiple McDonald’s All-Americans while BC may not have an All-ACC member although either of the Langfords might be viable.

But it’s really irrelevant.

What matters is how hard BC plays. And that’s something that Grant has done a great job of of. Boston College plays hard. As the talent gets better so will the results. And all things considered, BC is doing okay: the Eagles are in 10th place, ahead of NC State, Georgia Tech, Pitt and Clemson. Considering this team was 4-16 last year, that’s a considerable accomplishment and speaks well of Grant’s coaching.

And Duke?

Well it’s been a tough stretch as we said and it’s not quite over. Our first concern is Moore’s condition. We see these guys run and assume they’re fine but you never know what someone else’s pain is much less their pain tolerance. So we hope for the best.

Otherwise, this game likely comes down to one simple thing: if Duke plays with more intensity than BC does, Duke will win.

If not? It’s a crap shoot.