CHESTNUT HILL - Boston College faces arguably its biggest test of the season when it hosts No. 5/4 Duke on Sunday evening at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, MA. This is the first time the Eagles are facing the Blue Devils this season, a team that has won nine of ten games against them in their home building since joining the ACC in 2005-06.
John Cahill, a graduate student and Eagles reserve guard, maintained that every game, and not just this game, is big for a young and growing Boston College squad. But for everyone else, yes, it is a big one.
"I think for us, every game is a big game," said Cahill. "For everyone else, it's the biggest game of the year, for sure. You can just feel it, being around this building today, there's a lot more energy."
Naturally, excitement was in the air this morning at Boston College, and the same goes for the players. Cahill noted the increased energy of the team today, which is encouraging for Eagles fans.
"Shootaround today, there was a lot of energy," Cahill said. "Everyone's talking, pretty excited to get this game going. A lot of people have dreamed about it growing up, playing Duke, playing a top five team. Just a lot of energy -- more emotion than we've seen tonight lately."
Of course, when you play a team like Duke -- one of the best in the country -- it's natural to have some jitters. Add the fact that the Eagles have nine freshmen on the roster who have never faced the Blue Devils in their careers, and the jitters normally multiply. However, Cahill hasn't seen any from his teammates this morning.
"Not that I can see," said Cahill. "These guys have played in some pretty big games already. They've played at Carolina, they've played Florida State. I think most of the jitters have gotten out of the way. I'm sure there will be a couple here and there, being Duke and all, but for the most part they've gotten it out of the way and they're ready to play."
The Eagles are faced with a task that only four team have accomplished this season: beat Duke. The Blue Devils enter Sunday's game with a 22-4 record, not to mention a 9-2 mark in conference play. Cahill insisted that the Eagles will need to lockdown the perimeter, as well as keep their own offense in line, if they want to win.
"Obviously, we have to do a good job on their three point shooters and getting out and contesting their shots, making it tough," said Cahill. "We have to do a good job on the boards. They have a big team and they're pretty athletic, but keeping them off the boards, keeping it to one shot.
"On offense, we just have to run our offense, stay poised and really make them work on defense. They get in the passing lanes a lot, I think just the back door cuts, making them move around a lot will be big for us and get some open shots."
Having a sellout crowd is usually a plus, too, and that's the case on Sunday. However, plenty of Blue Devils fans have been in the stands in years past. However, if the Eagles fans can make their presence felt, it will be a big boost.
"Hopefully it's all BC because they help us," Cahill said. "I think a large crowd will help us bring a lot more energy and will be a big help for us really."