The independent news organization of Duke University


Three games into the ACC season, Boston College was wishing it was still in the Big East, having dropped three straight games to then-No. 21 Maryland, Georgia Tech and then-No. 18 N.C. State. Since losing at home to the Wolfpack Jan. 10, the No. 11 Eagles have gone 11-2 in the conference, including an 81-74 road win over North Carolina Jan. 25 and a 74-72 double-overtime victory at N.C. State Feb. 25. "I just think we have a better feel for the league and the league has a better feel for us," Eagle head coach Al Skinner said. "I think our guys have really settled in to what their roles are going to be." Despite the play of senior All-ACC first teamer, Craig Smith, and junior forward Jared Dudley, who earned All-ACC second team honors, Skinner said his team's success has been the result of strong play by his underclassmen. "Yes, we had a core of individuals who were returning that had a lot of playing experience, but we also had five so-called first-year players who were looking to get experience," Skinner said. "We were going to get better as they got better and they have as the season went along." Boston College's core has remained strong all season-it was the only ACC team to start the same lineup in every game. As for his players' first appearances in the ACC Tournament, Skinner said that coming from the Big East, they understand the level of intensity. "This class would like to initially try to have some impact on what our initial season [in the ACC] is," Skinner said, "as far as the record books are concerned." The Eagles have already left a mark in the ACC record books with their 11-5 conference record, tying the 1991-92 Florida State team for the best league record by a team in its first season entering the conference.


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