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TD: You Never Crack Like a Skinner

Date: 1/27/2011

Two Dukies  
Posted By: Matt (Tchaikovskying)

Volume XIV, Episode 16
January 27, 2011

Mattís comments in blue.
NCAA Trading Card Licensing Expertís comments in white. 

BOSTON COLLEGE (14-6, 4-2) @ #3 DUKE (18-1, 5-1)

Duke entertains the Beagles at Cameron, and right away, before I even type anything, you know that Mr. February, left-handed-hitting right fielder Reggie Jackson, is going to put up Fredetteish scoring totals, as he always does against Duke.  Noted.   

Contrary to my usual credo, I always appreciate these seasons when (a) there is no home-and-home between Duke and BeeCee, and (b) the one game that is played takes place in Durham, not in Chestnut Hill, accessing which defines ďdraining road tripĒ about as closely as anything outside of mainland WAC teams who trundle off to play Hawaii in Honolulu.  And besides, itís not as though BosColl is really part of the ACC anyway; whereas Miami has established a presence in the league, and VPI at least fits in geographically, the Jesuits of Beantown just arenít mixing well with others in our league.  Such is life in the Day of Swoffie.   

Some Historical Perspective and Mattís Usual Rant About Boston College:
Iím pretty sure I gave it away already, but Boston College does not really belong in the ACC.  I get why they were drafted when Grand Swoff Tarkin (played by Peter Cushing in a fatsuit) went looking for a solid academic program with integrity to counterbalance the questionable additions of Miami (which has really improved its academic standing, both generally and with regard to its athletics, under Shalala and AD Kirby Hocutt) and VPI (uhhh . . . ), but you canít find anyone who thinks that this BC tripe has worked out.  The school is just too far away, the relationships with other Galactic Coast programs are too attenuated, and now that the program has crashed into mediocrity, itís a good time for everyone to sit back and wonder what and whether they were thinking. 

Probably my favorite piece lambasting Boston College (of many) is this one from Bleacher Report last April.  You know, I didnít realize that DeFilippoís footprint was shrinking, which is a serious condition requiring immediate medical attention, following a time interval that I think most of you know all too well.  Writer Dave DeBlasio, unpersuaded to take it easy on Gene-o despite the latterís lower-extremity size-reduction problem, just blasts GDF for various transgressions, and itís quite hilarious.  Then, as a bonus, DeBlasio breaks out of Earthís orbit at piece's end by declaring that BC has no place in the ACC, because some of the states in which other conference schools are located celebrate Confederate History Month.  ďBostonís cadre of abolitionists and underground railroaders must roil in their graves,Ē declares DeBlasio.  Ooooof.  Iím no fan of that particular era of Southern history myself, but talk about raising the specter of an instantly divisive, complex issue woven into the fabric of the nation where itís not at all relevant.  Moreover, while ďroilĒ can mean ďto move turbulently,Ē I donít think dead people roil in their graves; Iím pretty sure they have been known to roll over in them, though.  But I doubt that Bostonís cadaverous ďcadreĒ of slavery foes is disturbed all that much by the state of Boston College athletics.  And that sums up why this is a terrific, hilarious piece - - DeBlasio starts out lobbing some well-deserved crit at the totally clue-free DeFilippo, then just loses it at the end with bungled, clumsy, even offensive historical allegory.  Well done!         

So BC really doesnít belong here.  If we could get Syracuse in the conference and maybe kick MDCP or someone out (hey, everyone over the summer announced that the Twerps were some huge fit for the Big Ten, which was utterly asinine, but letís make it happen anyway), then the Sugar Plum Fairies would have a natural conference rival (and the ACC would gain Syracuse, which would be fantastic).  But as it stands right now, the Eagles have no conference identity whatsoever.  Stupid Swofford. 

So, How Good is Boston College?
Even though you might want an easy rollover game here after two on the road, itís almost pleasant to greet an ACC team (besides us) with a winning conference record.  Weíll have to put an ďLĒ on the right side of the ledger for the Beagles, of course, but after some of the horrible opponentsí records that weíve seen recently, this is refreshing to an extent. 

Anyway, BC has four nonconference losses, two of which are defensible and the other two of which are not.  The Dew Drop Fairies lost by ten to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Challenge, dropped a close one to Rhody on the roady, and then . . . lost to both Harvard and Yale at home.  Ouch.  College Jeopardy, sure.  Basketball, no.  In the ACC, BC lost at Miami by one and in TeeHee by 16 - - we can relate, although Duke kept it far closer.  As far as signature wins, defeating then-unranked, now-#13 Texas A&M, which has only one other loss, to Jayhick-jacking Texas, is probably significant, and in the ACC, beating Maryland was likely X amount of impressive.  The Chestnut Hillpeople have won all four of their ACC home games, and dropped both of their road contests.  This is a fairly mixed bag.     

Their Last Game     
The previously mentioned 16-point dump at the TLCCCCCCCC(x50) last Saturday.  FSUís country-leading defense came through again, as Mr. February and Trapper Joe were forced into highly inefficient shooting performances (viz., 32 points on 28 shots), and only one other player (Raji) scored more than four points.  Itís worth noting that the Eaglesí starting point, Francophone anti-apartheid activist Biko Paris, didnít play due to illness.      

Projected Starters and Pithy Comments
Joe Trapani, 6-8 SR PF/WF - - scoring more than in any previous season, but his shooting numbers are down across the board and his FT% has cratered; will be guarded by Singler, which is not typically good for Trapper Joe at all

Danny Rubin, 6-6 FR SF - - BCís official game notes claim heís going to start; has averaged 5.8 ppg and shot 44.1% from distance as a rookie

Josh Southern, 6-10 SR C - - foul-amassing, light-rebounding bum

Reggie Jackson, 6-3 JR SG - - 46 points scored in four career games against Duke, and in one of those, as a freshman, he barely played, so itís more like 46 in three games, or 15.3 ppg

Biko Paris, 6-1 SR PG - - Suddenly a scorer this season, while his assists are down slightly 

Gabriel Moton, 6-2 FR WG - - 2.4 ppg doesnít inspire

Cortney Dunn, 6-8 SR PF - - could Bootsy, could be eaten alive by Kelly & The Plumlees - - only scoring 1.6 ppg and claiming 1.6 caroms an outing

Dallas Elmore, 6-5 JR SF/SG - - dismal shooting this season and has not exceeded five points in a single game

Corey Raji, 6-6 SR PF - - brother of ass-shaking Green Bay interception specialist B. J. is thriving in an instant offense role off the pine - - best career numbers yet in points (12.2) and boards (6.7)

Most Likely to Bootsy:
Mr. February (31 points needed), not because I really think (I hope not, anyway) that he can score that many against a top-drawer defense like Duke, but just because he comes alive against the Blue Devils for some bizarre reason.  

Boston Collegeís Likely Gameplan:
The Eagles have thrived this season on a relatively (and surprisingly) high-octane offense, befitting Donhaueís general philosophy.  They have people who can put the ball in the basket, but against a solid defense, itís a different story.  They may try to be patient with the ball and create on dribble drives, and that's not their game, as Listless Len and FSU apparently recognized.  On defense, they pretty much have to zone; the individual matchups here are the stuff of nightmares for them.  Singler always outplays Trapper Joe on both ends, Southern canít defend, Rubin and Raji are going to have to deal with taller checks, and Jackson and Paris are not stellar defenders. 

Two or Three Sabermetric Stats about Boston College:
- They have the sixth-most efficient offense in Ken Pomeroyís rankings, just edging Duke, which stands at #7.  
- They shoot an impressive 54.0% on twos and a very good 38.8% on threes (Duke: 39.9%despite all of the recent subcontracting), and are okay at the line, at 72.4%.
- Their general statistical profile reveals how bad they are defensively; they donít block shots, they donít steal the ball or benefit from enemy turnovers, and they allow opponents to shoot nice percentages.  This could be the game where Duke rediscovers its shooting touch.   

Two Weird or (Un)Cool Tidbits:
- Harvard is #97 in Pomeroyís rankings this season.  What??
- The Iggles are 2-12 all-time against Duke and 0-5 in Cameron. 

Duke Appraisal
The second half of the Wake game was very confidence-building, and Duke hasnít been out of the state since going down to TeeHee, so the Blue Devils probably arenít too terribly fatigued.  Nolan didnít shoot well against Wake after dominating State, but Paris absolutely does not have the skills to guard him, so Nolan should be able to drive at will here.  Meanwhile, Southern could foul out of the first half by collecting three personals before the 8-minute mark.  Duke will need to have Kyle Singler play his usual sterling defense, this time directed at Trapani, and the hoped-for return to form of Andre Dawkins (about whom Iím not at all worried), combined with strong performances by the post men against a very mediocre rebounding team, should propel Duke to a win if all goes right. 

Who Is Blathering Over The Sound of the Game?
ďThe ACC Network,Ē which is probably some dumb name that Raycom suddenly made up for itself; Brandroid and Gminski.  Itís incredible how Gminski can be completely objective about Duke, while neither leaning too far to the other side in order to be a nice guy (Jay Williams) nor becoming a full-throated attack dog against his own school (Bi[l]as).  But then, two of the guys I just mentioned can lay claim to important pieces of fabric dangling from the Cameron ceiling, while the third cannot.  Assuredly an unrelated story.  Hopefully, Brandblow will hold off on the shillery and general ho-ho-ho insider nonsense he tries so desperately to perpetuate, and he and the G-Man can just call the game effectively.   

Bottom Line This For Me, Please:
Boston Collegeís defense is ripe for the taking in this one, and Duke should exploit that with an intelligent gameplan and a strong defensive effort of its own.  This may not be an easy win, though.  Thanks as always for reading, and your comments are very welcome below.     

The Missing Link(s):
Boston Collegeís roster.
Boston Collegeís stats.
Boston Collegeís Society of Jesus-issued propaganda

Score Prediction:
Duke 84, Boston College 69.

Other ACC Action
Maryland, College Park 78, Virginia 69.

Last Edition
Matt 6-0

This Season:
Matt 26-3
Guests 1-0  


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Posted by: Jake Date: 1/28/2011 3:21:53 PM  
Great game by Seth. I've long appreciated his very athletic play -- he's very fast, handles the ball well and is a really good defender -- and we know he can shoot. Nice to see him put all parts of his game together.

I thought the most exciting aspect of the game was the way Nolan started to attack the basket in the second half. You could tell that every time he got the ball he was taking it to the basket. In the past he's always looked for an opening in the lane before making that move. Last night he just attacked the lane relentlessly, making things happen like a good point guard should. It didn't matter if BC packed three guys in there on defense or not; he just went straight at them. There was one drive in which he ended up making a kind of finger roll floating shot from about 8 feet from the hoop. it was as if he said "hey, I'm within 10 feet of the hoop and there is no way anyone is going to stop me from scoring." I just had the feeling every time he had the ball that something exciting was about to happen, and most times it did. Sweet.

And that final score prediction from Matt? Priceless!

Posted by: steve Date: 1/28/2011 8:10:30 AM  
Yeah, other than Dre being MIA, a nice win. Hopefully a breakout game for Seth, and Ryan seems to have carved out a very useful role.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 1/28/2011 3:16:09 AM  
TT needs 6 more minutes to add to his 9. D'agger Beast Dre is due for a breakout. Seth was the Seth we've all been waiting for since hearing about his practice exploits last season. I'm feeling worse for Kyrie now, more than I was feeling for us as his fans leading up to the last couple games. Duke will do well w/o him, and is starting to show it. He's the one missing out and it's got be be really frustrating him now. I hope the team is really helping support him now, as he's been their #1 cheerleader since the injury.

Posted by: Fats "Lazer" Durston Date: 1/28/2011 12:27:24 AM  
One pt. off, Matt!

Posted by: tom Date: 1/27/2011 10:31:30 PM  
And the winner is Seth Curry. Very good job. Ryan nice as appeared to be consistent these last several games. Could be that third guy. Kyle quiet. Andre? Get ready for St Johns.

Posted by: David MacMillan Date: 1/27/2011 5:01:54 PM  
I agree with your assessment, Matt. This should be a competitive game, but I don't think it will be a nail-biter. Wanted to make an overall comment, though--I just feel like we're in hoops purgatory right now. Can't get too excited until we know whether KI is coming back. Just not as much fun as usual, although administering beatdowns to the Holes will change that. The weakness of the ACC is like a flu bug.

Watched BYU-SDSU last night. Top 10, really? Neither one of those teams would stand a chance against Duke, Fredette's wish to play us notwithstanding.

I think we'll beat BC by 15.

Posted by: steve Date: 1/27/2011 3:53:31 PM  
I wouldn't mind seeing Nolan get an occasional break for his mental health, but physically I don't think there's much difference between 35 mpg and 40 mpg, even compounded over a full season.

I've noticed in each of the last two games, though, that Kyle went to the bench around 5:00 or 6:00 in the first half with foul trouble, and the team did fine without him for most of the rest of the first half. I think we CAN play without Kyle or Nolan for short stretches (in fact, I seem to recall one brief stretch where neither of them was in the game, but we held our own).

BC won't win at CIS without some help from the guys in the blue and white jerseys.

Posted by: KD Date: 1/27/2011 12:39:36 PM  
I really miss the Nutcracker. I had planned on visiting the site to see that old familiar picture of the Christmas icon, but alas, no more. Here's to hoping that K continues what appears to be shaping up as another great coaching performance. I like all of the experimentation with the younger players and let's hope their development continues. And if ever there was a year to spread a lot of minutes, man, this is it. The ACC really blows this year. I can't help but wish that Nolan would get a rest for 5-7 minutes a night (anybody worried about his legs when we need him to drive to the basket in March?), but he seems to accept the challenge of 40 mins a night pretty well. Also glad that the G-man is doing color tonight - Matt, you are right that he is about the best in the business at keeping it in the middle. I just can't stand that lame production quality of the Raycom telecasts - maybe Bristol will consider hiring him soon? But that is just a spoiled Duke fan talking - pretty amazing that we get to see almost every contest during the season. Go Duke!

Posted by: tom Date: 1/27/2011 12:19:04 PM  
Great stuff. I also agree in wondering who will be the third scorer? Not trying to be a downer but right now, this team is reminding me a little (I said a little) of the 05/06 team where you had Redick and Williams, and a plethera of other guys that may show up one game and not the other. Of course, I'm looking at the now and not the later if Kyrie is able to return (and we all hope he does). Last 4 or 5 games, we've seen the likes of Ryan, Andre, Seth, Miles, and Mason all of a game where they were the scoring leader (Mason more so on rebounding and he has been consistent). It would be nice to just have that consistent third guy there. And all of those guys I mentioned have the potential there. Don't forget it wasn't until mid February when Zoubek arrived. You hope for the same this year with one of the players but it's so hard to predict this. So, I'll continue to be optimistic and look forward to a nice collective team effort.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 1/27/2011 11:00:34 AM  
Great pre-cap. I don't know who bootsies, but somebody does. I hope you are right and Duke rediscovers its shooting touch tonight, buoyed by the Crazies. I do look forward to the point in the Season where I know what to expect from the lads, win or lose. Right now I just don't know who's going to show up and what they're going to do (in spite of the fact that the team generally plays well). Case in point: do one or both Plums enter the building tonight, and with our without the oven mitts?

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