Game Predictions – Duke
Deontae Hawkins is out for the year, and the #1 ranked Duke Blue Devils come to Conte Forum tomorrow. BC is in for a true test. We’ll see if Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman can respond. Here are our picks from the WZBC Sports board for the first ACC matchup of the year for the Eagles.
TJ Hartnett: The #1 team in the country marches into Conte Forum for what looks to be a lopsided contest for the first conference game of the year. This one doesn’t bode well for Boston College with serious issues in the paint. The loss of Teddy Hawkins almost guarantees Duke controlling the boards. If the guards are on point to, this one could get ugly fast. X factors for BC. 1) The crowd – Conte Forum will be predominately Blue and the student body is essential to combatting this. A loud student crowd that is fired up for an upset may turn the tables on a sleeping Duke team. 2) Jordan Chatman – the Eagles NEED their 3 point wizard back. He’s been struggling with a shoulder injury and just has not been the same player he was last season. If Chatman returns in a big way Saturday, he can be a great compliment to the scoring party of Ky and Jerome. 3) Nik Popovic – BC is lost if he gets into foul trouble early, as he is prone to do. Duke will be physical early and often and if they choose to go after Pop, BC will be forced to use bench players the majority of the way. When going up against Bagley, this will get out of hand if we go down this path. An upset is not looking promising, but BC tends to play up to their opponents at home. I’m hoping for something special, I just don’t see it coming. Duke 90, BC 73
Steve McAlee: Two years ago when Duke came to town, it fell squarely in the middle of Christmas break. This is a better Duke team than that one was, and all the students are on campus – it should be the best basketball atmosphere in Conte in years. All that said, the loss of Deonate Hawkins for the year is a devastating blow. His versatility and senior leadership was the glue of this team. That loss of cohesion is all this extremely talented Duke team needs to blow past the Eagles. In the end, the hype won’t affect the outcome. Without the maturity and toughness of Hawkins, BC falls big in this one. Duke 89 – BC 67
Landon Komishane: Duke comes in with potential #1 pick Marvin Bagley, and they have yet to lose a game. BC, on the other hand, is already dealing with injuries with Hawkins out for the year. In order to BC to have any shot in the game, BC will need Robinson and Bowman to look for their shot immediately. Both North Carolina natives will get up for a game like this, but BC will need to shoot well throughout the game. Outside of Bowman and Robinson, I can’t see any other players significantly stepping up. Duke should roll easily led by Bagley and Allen. Duke 95, BC 69
Kyle Maslan: The loss of Teddy Hawkins hurts BCs chances of guarding Marving Bagley III. Bagley is an early favorite for the #1 overall pick in the NBA draft this year and has been compared to Tim Duncan. Best of luck to the combination of Steffon Mitchell, Luka Kraljevic and Ervins Mezniaks who will likely be tasked in guarding him. Duke also has future first round picks Wendell Carter, Trevon Duval and Grayson Allen. That collection of talent, lead by one of the best coaches in the nation, Coach K, will be too much for BC to handle. Ky and Jerome could keep the game interesting early if they ball out, but the Eagles do not have the talent depth to compete with the Blue Devils. Duke 90 – BC 65
Ben Neuwirth: Duke 90 BC 75. If Teddy Hawkins was still on the floor I’d have this game closer but with him out for the season, Duke will have a major advantage down low and on the glass. This team is stacked with talent, Carter, Bagley and Duval are projected NBA lottery picks while Allen was a player of the year candidate. While Ky and Jerome may be able to limit the damage Allen and Diuval can do, Popovic and Mitchell should get wrecked by the Blue Devil Bigs. BC’s depth has also taken a hit as the first two guys off the bench, Johncarlos Reyes and Vin Baker Jr, frankly shouldn’t be playing at all in this type of game given their development so far. This could get really ugly and the sold out, likely Duke dominated crowd at Conte Forum will be loud. If the score gets too painful to look at, check out the matchup between Bowman and Duval, both hope to be drafted in the league this spring and if Ky wants to up his stock he needs to dominate games like this.
Al Preziosi: BC would have struggled against Duke’s tremendous front court even with Hawkins playing. This will be a tough one for the Eagles. Duke 87 – BC 64
Sam Parsons: The #1 team in the country figures to cause a lot of issues for an Eagles unit that hasn’t looked very special this year. I expect this game to be well in Duke’s hands sooner rather than later. Duke 88, BC 69
Andrew Linnehan: ACC play gets underway for the Eagles and they waste no time easing into it. With a unique blend of top rated freshmen and a core of veteran scoring and leadership, this shows to be one of the most impressive Duke teams in recent memory. That’s saying something. BC is still adapting to life without their veteran backbone in Deontae Hawkins. If Hawkins were available in this game, then I think the Eagles would have a much easier and versatile appraoch to scoring the ball. Yet, with Hawkins, once again all the scoring responsibility will fall on Robinson and Bowman. With Duke’s alarming athleticism and dynamic play on both sides of the ball, points will be tough to come by and tough to prevent for the Eagles. On the bright side, we will get to see how Johncarlos Reyes fares against Marvin Bagley defensively. This will be a great test for the redshirt sophomore. If BC has any chance of keeping this competitive, it’s going to require methodical penetration and kicks from their guards and stellar shooting from the perimeter from guys like Chatman and Mitchell. I still expect the Blue Devils to take care of business. Duke 94 BC 60