Boston College men’s basketball takes on Duke this Saturday at home. The Eagles (6-3) are looking to move to a perfect 5-0 at Conte Forum this season, while the No. 1 Blue Devils (11-0) will have a chance to further their unbeaten streak and get out to a one-game lead in the ACC. BC is coming off a solid win against Hartford, but has been struggling against tougher opponents this season, with losses to Texas Tech and Nebraska. On Saturday, the Eagles will face their biggest test of this season. Duke is fresh off a win over Saint Francis (Pa.), blowing out the Red Flash, 124-67, earlier this week. Not only have the Blue Devils won every single game this year, but they have done so in convincing fashion. On average, Duke is beating teams by 20.3 points per game. For BC, a team that has routinely stumbled out of the gates this season, this one could easily get out of hand in the first half.
Who is BC playing?
When is BC playing?
Saturday, Dec. 9, 12pm
Where is BC playing?
Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
How to watch:
The game will be broadcasted on ESPN and livestreamed on WatchESPN.
By the Numbers:
1) The last time the Eagles defeated Duke was in 2008-09, when they took down the then-No.6 Blue Devils. This was the first time in over 24 years that BC had beaten Duke.
2) BC has lost to Duke in eight-consecutive games. Most of these games have been heavily one sided in Duke’s favor. But in 2013, the Eagles gave their ACC foe a run for its money, losing, 62-61.
3) Jerome Robinson just became the 42nd Eagle to score 1,000 points in his career at BC. This season, the junior is averaging 16 points per game.
1) Duke is ranked first in the NCAA this year in total assists, rebounds, free throws made, and wins.
2) Marvin Bagley III is ranked first in the country in assists, rebounds, and free throws made. In a recent interview, Bagley earned the praise of Duke alumnus and Boston Celtic Kyrie Irving. The point guard commented that Bagley is an “incredible talent” and “dominating college basketball right now”.
3) Duke has heavily outscored its opponents this year and has averaged 94 points per game throughout the first month of the season.
BC took on then-No. 2 Duke in the hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium last season, falling, 93-82. At one point in the first half, the Eagles were up by one, but Duke went on a 20-2 run to close out period. The Blue Devils didn’t look back and held a lead throughout the rest of the game, despite BC’s late-game comeback attempt. A combined 40 points from Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman, with 19 of Bowman’s 21 points coming in the second half, were not enough, as Duke held on for the win at home.
All time Series:
Duke leads, 18-2
BC wins if…
It starts hitting its perimeter shots. The Eagles have been struggling beyond the arc this season, hovering around 32 percent on the year. Even more concerning, in its two games against Power Five teams, BC has failed to find any sort of rhythm from outside. The Eagles went 4-of-22 from 3-point land against Nebraska in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge game and shot just 15.8 percent from downtown in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament against Texas Tech. If BC wants a chance at upsetting the Blue Devils, it’ll have to make open 3-pointers. Without graduate transfer Teddy Hawkins, who was diagnosed with a season-ending knee injury on Wednesday, the Eagles will have to heavily rely on the backcourt duo of Bowman and Robinson to pull this one out.
BC loses if…
Bowman and Robinson get no help. In last week’s win over Hartford, not a single bench player scored. There’s no way the Eagles will get by with that kind of production in their ACC opener. Duke may be one of the youngest teams in the nation, but it’s also one of the deepest. If Bowman or Robinson have an off day or Nik Popovic gets into foul trouble, and no one on the bench steps up, BC will be doomed. And of course, if Bagley continues to play like one of, if not the, best player in the country, the Eagles will be in for another uphill battle against the Blue Devils.
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Staff