After defeating St. John’s handily, Duke will return to conference play and take on Boston College Tuesday. The Blue Zone looks at a key player for each team:
Duke: Forward Jack White
Up to and including Duke’s matchup with Syracuse, Jack White attempted at least five field goal attempts in 11 of the Blue Devils’ 16 contests. But since that fateful night against the Orange, when White missed all ten of his shot attempts and Duke lost to an unranked opponent at home for the first time in two years, the Australian has yet to reach that five field-goal attempt threshold. And it’s making the Blue Devils a far easier offense to contain.
Clearly, White’s confidence took a hit after that 0-of-10 showing. The 6-foot-7 forward has totaled only eight points in Duke’s five games since, including being held scoreless over the past three. Part of the reason for this is also simply because Coach K hasn’t been playing his captain as much—White’s minutes over these past three contests are his lowest marks of the season. But that’s just another part of the problem.
White’s offensive production is an essential piece of this Blue Devil squad. Without it, the team becomes heavily reliant on its top freshmen and fairly easy to contain with a zone defense. Yes, Duke—winners of five straight—have seemed fine thus far, but what about when the team begins its stretch of four top-16 opponents in seven games?
Krzyzewski needs to keep White on the floor against Boston College—his confidence to shoot the ball is crucial in the Blue Devils’ ability to spread the floor. But even more importantly, Duke will need a confident, outspoken veteran leader come March. And if White isn’t prepared to fulfill that role, expect another early tournament exit for the Blue Devils’ star-studded roster.
Boston College: Guard Ky Bowman
If there’s one kind of offense that Duke struggles to guard, it’s teams that can shoot the basketball. It’s what ruined them in the team’s two losses to Gonzaga and Syracuse and it’s what can devastate the Blue Devils in March. And few shoot the ball better than guard Ky Bowman.
The junior currently ranks third in the ACC in scoring with 20.8 points per game, trailing only R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson. His 50-three pointers place him seventh in the conference, with the Havelock, N.C. native hitting them at a 37 percent rate. Yes, Duke has faced top-tier shooters this year and have breezed past them with ease. But it’s tough to say whether the team has seen someone who can get as hot as Bowman can.
Boston College has not had the best start to their season, sitting just 2-6 in ACC play. One of those wins, however, featured the Eagles taking down then-No. 11 Florida State, with Bowman being a big reason why. The former unranked recruit exploded for 37 points against the Seminoles, sinking 13 of his 18 field goal attempts and six of his eight shots from downtown.
The Blue Devils must do all they can Tuesday night to prevent Bowman from catching fire in Cameron Indoor Stadium the way he did that Sunday afternoon in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Otherwise, Duke could be looking at its second unranked home loss in less than a month.
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