Duke basketball will travel to face Boston College on Tuesday in what could be a potential “trap game” for the Blue Devils.
In their last time out, Duke basketball left Syracuse with an impressive 97-88 victory in hand. Three days later, they’ll play their second game of a three-game road trip when they take on Boston College on Tuesday night. While BC is nowhere near as talented as the Blue Devils, Duke needs to be careful not to look too far ahead to Saturday night’s showdown with UNC. Duke crushed the Eagles in their first meeting back on New Year’s Eve; however, since then BC has wins over Virginia, Virginia Tech, and on the road at North Carolina–all of which are fairly respectable victories.
The Blue Devils should easily win on Tuesday night, but they can’t look too far ahead to the looming matchup with UNC.
Despite the Tar Heels currently being in a down year, the Duke-UNC rivalry certainly hasn’t lessened in intensity. Fans of both schools–and college basketball in general–wait the entire season for the showdown, so as you would expect, the anticipation is building. That being said, though, the Blue Devils still have a game to play between now and then. As noted earlier, Boston College is far from being a top team in what is currently a weak ACC; however, they’re taking advantage of some of the league’s struggles this year.
The Eagles are currently on pace for their most wins in the conference since 2011, and are 3-2 on their home floor in conference play. One of those losses came in what was a competitive matchup with fifth-ranked Louisville, who beat Duke just two weeks ago. BC’s starting backcourt is averaging over 25 points per game this season, while brothers Jared and Jairus Hamilton–who are Charlotte natives–are each adding more than nine points per contest.
As a team the Eagles don’t score a whole lot, but the fact that all five players on the floor are scoring options does make them somewhat dangerous. Fortunately for the Blue Devils, though, history in on their side, as they’ve won 22 of the 25 all-time matchups between the schools, with 15 of those victories coming by double-digit margins. If all goes to plan, Duke should increase those totals tonight.
The matchup with Boston College could help get Wendell Moore back into the swing of things ahead of the UNC game.
After missing Duke’s last six games prior to the win over Syracuse, freshman forward Wendell Moore made his return from a hand injury against the Orange. In his first game back, Moore played 24 minutes, and totaled only five points on just three shot attempts. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that he turned the ball over five times and fouled out despite having played just over half the game. Moore hasn’t quite lived up to his lofty expectations thus far; however, Coach K will surely want one of his prized freshman firing on all cylinders against the rival Tar Heels.
Another player the Blue Devils will need on Tuesday night is Vernon Carey. Playing in all 21 games, Carey has been Duke’s most reliable player this season, and leads the team in both scoring and rebounding, and is fourth on the team in assists. He’ll be tasked with matching up with Boston College center Nik Popovic, who isn’t a great big-man, but is an extremely pesky opponent and can at times be the Eagles’ go-to scorer. Even when he’s not scoring, Popovic is effective by constantly setting ball screens to set up shots for his teammates.
Even with the matchup looming with UNC on Saturday night, Coach K will still have his crew ready to play on Tuesday night. Any game can be a trap game if you make it one; however, the level of talent in tonight’s game just leans too far in Duke’s favor. Expect a heavy dose of Carey and Cassius Stanley, and a big assist night from Tre Jones. Look for the Blue Devils to be in control from buzzer to buzzer.
Final Prediction: Duke wins 83-66.