Pictured: Zion Williamson
Source: Justin K. Aller / Getty Image North America

Preview: Boston College at Duke

While Zion Williamson is making a mockery of the ACC with his offensive play during conference action, Tre Jones is also showing he has few peers on the defensive end. Behind the contributions of two of the country’s best rookies, No. 2 Duke sets its sights on a sixth straight victory Tuesday in its final tune-up before the most challenging part of its schedule when it hosts Boston College.

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Williamson is averaging a league-best 25.1 points while shooting 71.8 percent from the field during ACC play, dipping below 25 points only once over the last six contests while converting at least 60 percent of his field-goal attempts in every game. He scored 29 points on 13-of-17 shooting, added six rebounds and five steals in Saturday’s 91-61 rout of St. John’s, but Jones was not to be outdone. He had 13 points, a career-high seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals while holding Shamorie Ponds – the Big East’s third-leading scorer – to nearly 10 points below his season average. “If (Jones is) doing his job, then they’re going to shoot under 40 percent. … He’s as good as anybody in the country on defense,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. Jones’ next challenge will be to lock up the ACC’s third-leading scorer in 6-1 junior guard Ky Bowman (20.8 points), who exploded for 30 points, 10 boards and nine assists in an upset of the Blue Devils last season.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNews

ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (11-9, 2-6 ACC): Bowman, who also paces the Eagles with 3.5 assists and ranks second with 7.8 rebounds, has reached double figures in an ACC-best 29 consecutive games and posted his seventh double-double of the season after finishing with 25 points and 10 boards in Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame. Freshman Wynston Tabbs (13.9 points) – the team’s second-leading scorer – was spotted with crutches on the bench and missed a third straight game with a left knee injury. The Eagles owned a 15-5 edge on the offensive glass Saturday – turning it into a 17-2 advantage in second-chance points – but they allowed the Fighting Irish to become the third conference opponent to shoot over 50 percent against them.

ABOUT DUKE (19-2, 7-1): Williamson (22.3 points, 9.0 rebounds), who ranks second overall in the ACC in scoring, third in rebounding and third in the country in field-goal percentage (68.7), extended his school freshman record of 25-point games to 10 and is 43-of-54 from the field over the last four contests. RJ Barrett (ACC-best 23.1 points, 7.3 rebounds), who recorded his fourth double-double and third in the last seven games with 15 points and 14 boards versus the Red Storm, needs 15 more points to reach 10th place on the single-season Duke freshman scoring list. Fellow freshman Cam Reddish (13.0 points) tallied 16 points Saturday and is averaging 13.9 points in his last six outings, nearly double the 7.7 points per game he scored over his previous six contests.

TIP-INS

1. After BC, four of Duke’s next six opponents are ranked – including three of the next four: No. 3 Virginia, No. 17 Louisville, North Carolina State and No. 8 North Carolina.

2. Bowman has played 403 of a possible 405 minutes over the last 10 games and averages a Division I-high 39 minutes for the season.

3. Jones’ five turnovers Saturday matched the number he has committed during ACC play.

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Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Photo: AJ Dillon
Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America

Expect plenty of offense when the Broncos take on the Eagles in Dallas

The Boston College Eagles and Boise State Broncos will meet up in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl in one of the more under-the-radar intriguing matchups of the bowl season.

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Boise State (10-3, 7-1 MW) comes into the game disappointed with how its season turned out. The Broncos lost the Mountain West Championship Game to Fresno State in overtime, sending them to Dallas instead of Vegas. Be that as it may, head coach Bryan Harsin and his squad will be motivated to notch their third 11-win season in the last five years.

After starting the 2018 campaign 7-2, Boston College (7-5, 4-4 ACC) backed its way into bowl season with three straight losses. They’ll be anxious to get back on the field and finish the year on a high note against one of the very best Group of 5 teams in the country.

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl: Boston College (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-3)

Kickoff: Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Cotton Bowl Stadium (Dallas)

TV: ESPN

Spread: Boise State -2.5

Three Things to Watch

1. AJ Dillon vs. the Boise State front seven

Dillon has been one of the best backs in the country during the last two seasons. He is the heart and soul of the Eagles’ offense, and this team goes as he goes. Four of Boston College’s five losses came when Dillon logged fewer than 20 carries or did not play. The coaching staff must make a concerted effort to get Dillon the ball early and often, and he must be able to consistently move the ball against a defense that has allowed fewer than 123 rushing yards per game. Wearing down the Boise State front seven early will be key for Boston College.

2. Brett Rypien vs. the Boston College secondary

Boise State wants to push the ball downfield through the air. It’s what the Broncos do, and they’ve done it well for a long time. They’ve got one of the most seasoned and capable quarterbacks in the country under center (or in the shotgun), and he can pick apart any defense you put in front of him. He’ll need to be careful against Boston College — especially in the red zone. The Eagles do allow plenty of passing yards (247.9 per game), but they also lead the nation in interceptions with 18 and have only surrendered 17 TD passes all season. A turnover in the red zone could leave to a significant swing in this game (and on the scoreboard). Boston College defensive back Hamp Cheevers — the nation’s leader in interceptions with seven — will play a vital role in how this all plays out. This matchup could end up being the difference.

3. Can Boston College stop Boise State on third down?

Boise State possesses the ball for about 33 minutes a game. One of the biggest reasons the Broncos are able to do this is their efficiency on third down. Their 52.7 percent success rate is third in the nation and Boise State’s 106 conversions are tops. For a team like Boston College that wants to run the ball, it is absolutely imperative that the Eagles’ defense gets off the field on the third down so Dillon can pound the ball and the offense can eat up clock. If Boston College can’t stop the Broncos on third down it will be a long afternoon for head coach Steve Addazio and company.

Final Analysis

Despite Boston College leaning on the run, the Eagles score points at a decent clip (32 per game). They are facing a Boise State offense that puts up more than 35 points per contest. Suffice to say, possessions will be key, and Boston College needs to figure out a way to get more of them. The Eagles are among the nation’s leaders in turnovers gained with 26. Unfortunately, the Broncos are stingy when it comes to giving them away. having turned it over just 13 times in as many games. The pace of the game and Boise State’s ball security will end up being the difference in this one. The Broncos simply have more ways to score and can do so from anywhere on the field. Look for dynamic running back Alexander Mattison to play a huge role in that effort. A close contest early will eventually evolve into a sound Boise State win.

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Posted in CFB, Top Fantasy Picks