Austin Rivers and the No. 5/4 Duke Blue Devils invade Conte Forum to face Ryan Anderson and the Boston College Eagles on Sunday evening in Chestnut Hill, MA.
Event: Duke Blue Devils (22-4, 9-2 ACC) vs. Boston College Eagles (8-18, 3-9 ACC).
Date/Time: Sunday, February 19, 2012 - 6:00 p.m. EDT.
Location: Silvio O. Conte Forum (Capacity: 8,606), Chestnut Hill, MA.
Broadcast Info: Sunday's game between the Eagles and Blue Devils will be televised nationally on ESPNU, with Jon Sciambi and Hubert Davis on the broadcast. In addition, the game can be heard on the WEEI Sports Radio Network (93.7 FM/850 AM), with Jon Meterparel and Malcolm Huckaby on the call.
Odds: Duke is a 15 1/2-point favorite over Boston College on Sunday.
Boston College 2011-12 Roster: Salah Abdo, Gabe Moton, Deirunas Visockas, Eddie Odio, KC Caudill, Jordan Daniels, Ryan Anderson, John Cain Carney, Matt Humphrey, Lonnie Jackson, John Cahill, Dennis Clifford, Peter Rehnquist, Danny Rubin, Patrick Heckmann. Head Coach: Steve Donahue.
Duke 2011-12 Roster: Austin Rivers, Quinn Cook, Tyler Thornton, Mason Plumlee, Alex Murphy, Michael Gbinije, Josh Hairston, Andre Dawkins, Miles Plumlee, Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly, Marshall Plumlee, Todd Zafirovski. Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski.
Series History: The Eagles and Blue Devils have clashed 15 times in the past, with Duke claiming 13 victories. BC joined the ACC in the 2005-06 season, and ever since, the Blue Devils have unsurprisingly dominated the Eagles, going 9-1. During that stretch, the Eagles' lone victory came on February 15, 2009, when BC prevailed over then No. 6 Duke, 80-74. BC has played Duke very closely at Conte Forum, as their last three losses to the Blue Devils at home have been by an average of 4.3 points.
Last Time Out: Ryan Anderson finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds in the Eagles' 81-65 loss to the Terrapins on Thursday. Lonnie Jackson added 19 points and Dennis Clifford was the only other Eagle who reached double digits in scoring with 11 points. Matt Humphrey, who has been playing better in the second half of the season, had five points.
The Blue Devils suffered a major scare when unranked ACC foe N.C. State took a 20-point lead, but they recovered to capture a 78-73 win. Rivers, the team's leading scorer, finished with 16 points in 33 minutes while Seth Curry, who is Duke's second-leading scorer (13.4 PPG) and the team's assists leader (2.5 APG), had a game-high 26 points and four rebounds. Mason Plumlee had nine points and 10 boards while his brother, Miles Plumlee, had four points and six rebounds. Andre Dawkins added nine points and both Ryan Kelly and Josh Hairston had six points off the bench. Duke won despite making only 25-of-69 field goals (36.2 percent shooting) and 8-of-29 three-pointers (27.6 percent).
Statistical Leaders: Ryan Anderson has emerged as the Eagles' premier freshman talent. He leads the team in scoring (10.4 PPG) and rebounding (6.9 RPG) and is shooting 40.9 percent from the floor. Humphrey is averaging 10.2 points, the only other player on the roster to average 10 or more points, and Clifford is averaging 9.1 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Austin Rivers is the Blue Devils' leading scorer, averaging 15.0 points, and is the team's second-leading assist man (2.1 APG). Rivers is also tied for the team lead in steals (9.0 SPG). Seth Curry is Duke's second-leading scorer, averaging 13.4 points, but averages a team-best 2.5 assists. Mason Plumlee averages 11.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.
Storyline: One game for all the glory. OK, not really, but this is still an important game for both teams. Boston College isn't going anywhere this season, unless they win the ACC Tournament, but this is a big game for head coach Steve Donahue and his team to gauge where they are at. All season, the Eagles have made progress. Now, they can show it.
Duke isn't exactly in need of a win -- they have 22 of them -- but this is one of those games that the Blue Devils just can't lose if they want to be taken seriously. Duke enters the game ranked No. 5/4 in the country, so a loss to the unranked, bottom-dwelling Eagles would not help them. Regardless, though, the Blue Devils should be safe to make the NCAA Tournament, but you know that Mike Krzyzewski would blow a gasket if his team lost to the Eagles.
Anything is possible in sports. That being said, it would be a massive upset if the Eagles thumped the Blue Devils. Still, the two teams have been known to play very close games over the years -- in the last three home losses against Duke, the Eagles have lost by an average of 4.3 points. Expect a lot of energy from BC to start, but the key will be continuing to keep their composure once the Blue Devils go on a run. And make no mistake, that will happen. Duke is just too good.
Players To Watch: Austin Rivers, who is the son of Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, will be the best player on the court, as the future first round NBA draft pick has been lightning it up this year. Seth Curry is also an extremely talented guard, and the backcourt of Rivers and Curry could (and most likely will) give the Eagles fits. BC should get good games out of Ryan Anderson, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, as well as Matt Humphrey. Jordan Daniels, Lonnie Jackson and Dennis Clifford will all need to step up if the Eagles are to pull off the monumental upset.
Prediction: Duke is just too talented to pick against, but that being said, people don't give Boston College enough credit. This Eagles team can play with anybody, which they have proved this season. Being a young team, they still have their problems, but when everything is clicking, watch out. BC should come out with a lot of energy, and Duke may not be fully ready for this game, thinking it will be an easy win. The Eagles will keep it close early on, but the Blue Devils will ultimately prevail. Final Score: Duke 85, Boston College 69.