BC heads down to Tobacco Road this weekend for a showdown with the Blue Devils Sunday night (5:30 P.M.). Duke is one of those teams (the Yankees and Notre Dame Football being the others) that I absolutely despise. The common thread is the air of superiority that they and their insufferable fans all have. Duke is particularly annoying in that every Top 100 prepster in the country is dying to go there, so the Dukies cherrypick the perfect profile ones (i.e., good grades, parents are educators, dates the homecoming queen), and then shamelessly brag about how Duke wins "the right way." Whatta crock. When Fudge Packer and Gay Bilas gush over them on CBS I wanna throw up in my mouth.
As is well documented, after Steve Lappas got canned Coach K is the only large rodent left coaching major college basketball. And the truth is that he is the most duplicitous coach out there. Every year Duke has a Top 5 recruiting class, yet every year they have a short bench. A disconnect? Not really, since Coach K likes a rotation that only goes seven deep, he throws a bunch of talent against the wall and sees what sticks. The sin is that I very much doubt he discloses that on the recruiting trail. But these dopey lemmings should be warned: if you're not in the Dukies' rotation by mid-November, you should be making transfer plans. Just ask Eric Boateng, a ballyhooed McDonald's All-American who transferred to Arizona State last year, or Jamal Boykin, a Parade All American who transferred to Cal this year. In fact, I'll bet there are more high school All-Americans who have left Durham in the past 3 years than have ever attended BC. Parenthetically, I look at a guy like Duke Freshman Gerald Henderson, a McDonald's All American, and I want to smack him in the head. He was a friggin' stud in high school, and now he's averaging 3ppg in ACC play in limited minutes. Why not go to a place like BC? His dad played for the Celtics for crissakes (made the steal that won the '84 championship over the Lakers), and he would have started right away and put up big numbers. Unbelievable.
Now for the game. This will be a tough one for BC, playing a pretty good team in their gym before a hostile crowd. I think the Dukies are overrated, especially Greg Paulus and his 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, but Josh McRoberts will present a really really tough matchup for the Eagles. He's inconsistent, but that's only when he's playing against decent competition in the post (e.g., Craig Smith last year). I would have liked BC's chances had they not booted Sean Williams off the team. But without Williams, I think McRoberts is going to have a field day against soft John Oates and graceless Tyrelle Blair. So it could be ugly down low. On the other hand, I think there is a possibility Ty Rice will devour Paulus. Hell, Paulus couldn't run with Louis Hinnant last year, and Rice is twice the player Sweet Lou was, especially on offense. The X factor might be how Sean Marshall defends DeMarcus Nelson. Nelson is an athletic guy with good range, so Marshall needs to get in his jock on defense and stay there. And whomever is on Jon Scheyer needs to do the same; that frosh can flat out shoot, and he's been playing with a lot of confidence as of late. My prediction? If BC can stay with the Dukies through the 1st half, I think things could get interesting, especially if Jared Dudley takes advantage of his mismatch (he will have one).
Hey it's my birthday Sunday, and there would be no greater birthday present for me than a W over the hated Dukies at Cameron. So let's win one for Angry Eagle, fellas!