It snowed more than two feet in Boston, but that hasn’t stopped Duke basketball from making its way north to take on Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Here are the three keys to tonight’s action:
Can Duke handle the travel?
It may not seem like a big deal, but the storm “Nemo” that dropped more than two feet of snow around the Boston area prevented the Blue Devils from flying up to the area until this morning. That throws off the team’s normal routine of flying at least a day before, getting settled in the area and so forth. Any road game in the ACC is tough, even if it’s a struggling Boston College team that has lost six of its last seven. And now it gets only tougher with the players’ sleep schedule thrown off, practice routines, etc. Keep in mind, when Boston College hosted Miami at home, the Eagles lost by just one. There’s no place like home.
Can Plumlee keep it up?
Mason Plumlee has been down right nasty in his last few games. After hitting a rough patch and falling behind in the National Player of the Year race, Plumlee has two 30-point efforts in his last three times out. In his last four games, he has hit a ridiculous 81% of his field goals. In those four games, he also has six steals and seven blocks. He’s even been hitting free throws—in his 30-point effort against N.C. State, he hit 12-of-16 from the line. Especially against N.C. State, he was aggressive in the post, taking it hard to the hole and refusing to settle for hook shots. He has to keep that up against the Eagles.
The top-notch passing
The Blue Devils have won four in a row, averaging 17.3 assists per game in that span. Naturally, point guard Quinn Cook leads that effort and paces the team with 6.1 assists per game. But in the win against N.C. State it was a really a team effort—Tyler Thornton actually led the way with six dimes. Curry and Cook also added four. And it doesn’t always show on the stat sheet but Plumlee has also been key to the strong ball movement. He has at least two assists in the past four games and has opened up the floor for the team’s 3-point shooters when defenders collapse on him in the paint. He needs to continue to attract that type of attention for Cook, Curry and Rasheed Sulaimon to continue to get open looks.