WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP)—Boston College still has a familiar feel to Georgetown’s Jeff Green—even though the Eagles have bolted for a new conference.
“They were once in the Big East, so it’s always going to feel like a Big East game,” Green said Friday.
There probably won’t be many surprises when Boston College, the newest member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, takes on second-seeded ex-Big East rival Georgetown (27-6) in the second round of the East Regional.
The seventh-seeded Eagles (21-11) will play just their third game against a Big East team since their 2005 departure from the conference they helped create nearly 30 years ago. Villanova won last year’s regional semifinal matchup, and earlier this season Providence beat BC.
“Fans, they kind of got on us about it, calling us traitors—I mean, (leaving) wasn’t up to us,” Boston College swingman Sean Marshall said. “We enjoyed playing in the Big East. It was a great experience, playing at (Madison Square) Garden for the Big East tournament, but we’ve moved on to the ACC, we’ve been successful in it, and it’s good to go back and play against Georgetown.”
Georgetown leads the series 43-27 and has won four of six against the Eagles, but BC claimed the last matchup 64-49 during the team’s 20-0 start in 2004-05. That was BC’s last season in the Big East and John Thompson III’s first year coaching the Hoyas.
“When you watch them play, it still has a Big East feel,” Thompson said. “It’s not like myself or my group has a long, storied history playing against Boston College. Georgetown clearly, obviously, does. But just the way they go about their business does have a Big East feel to it.”
The teams’ first postseason meeting since BC’s opening-round victory in the 2004 Big East tournament will determine which team reaches the NCAA’s round of 16 for the second straight year.
“You just don’t want to lose and go home,” Boston College forward Jared Dudley said. “This is my last year, our last go-round, me and Sean are trying to make the most of it. And there wouldn’t be anything sweeter than to get this win, go back to BC and get ready to go to New Jersey.”
Both teams are coming off impressive first-round victories: Marshall’s strong second half helped the Eagles beat Texas Tech 84-75, and the Hoyas’ patient, Princeton-style offense shook off a slow start and routed outmanned Belmont to win their 16th in 17 games.
Georgetown and Boston College also feature the players of the year in their respective conferences.
Green captured the Big East award, averaging 14.3 points as the Hoyas won the league’s regular season and tournament titles. Dudley averaged 19.0 points and an ACC-best 8.3 rebounds in claiming the top honor in his new league.
Dudley is embracing both the matchups and the mind-set of being an underloved underdog.
“We’re somewhat familiar with this team, their style of play. They love to slow it down, run clock and that’s what we like to do,” Dudley said. “They don’t like to run-and-gun or have the game in the high 80s, and so do we. Where we’ve struggled this year is when teams are a lot more athletic than us, and overpressured us, and we’ll see if they can do that.
“I feel like right now, the situation with this team, it’s definitely a winnable game, and no one’s picking us,” he added. “So it’s even more incentive for us to do well in this game. And it’s going to start from me from the top, leading this team.”
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