Duke-Boston College Preview

The Associated Press

Whatever happened to Duke the last time it was ranked No. 1 seems to be long forgotten.

With one more strong performance, the fourth-ranked Blue Devils could jump back up to the top spot.

Duke must overcome a unique travel situation in order to get a fifth straight victory Sunday at Boston College.

The blizzard that hit New England this weekend delayed the Blue Devils' arrival, and the team will be forced to travel to Boston on Sunday morning.

Duke (20-2, 7-2) still should have a good chance to get back to the nation's top ranking for the third time this season. It's the only member of the top 5 without a loss this week.

The team's last appearance atop the poll lasted only one week because of a 90-63 loss at ACC leader Miami, the third-worst loss ever for a No. 1 team. The Blue Devils shot a season-low 29.7 percent in that game, including 4 of 23 from 3-point range.

In four contests since, they're shooting 54.5 percent - 43.6 percent from beyond the arc - while beating opponents by an average of 14.2 points, including a 98-85 home win against North Carolina State on Thursday.

"We've been there (No. 1) twice before," said Mason Plumlee, who had 30 points on 9-of-11 shooting. "We don't go by rankings ... we're just focused on us. We can't worry about Big Ten, Big 12, Kansas, Indiana - we can't worry about all that. We'll watch the games but we're so focused on us, and I think that's what's helping us get better right now."

Plumlee, averaging 18.2 points, was also 12 of 16 from the free-throw line against the Wolfpack, finishing two points shy of the career-high 32 he had last week against Wake Forest. He's 34 of 42 (81.0 percent) from the floor over the last four games.

"I think he is playing as well as anybody in the country really," coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Seth Curry has also responded well since going 0 for 10 against Miami, averaging 20.3 points in the four games and topping 20 in each of the last three.

The Blue Devils will take any contribution they can get as they continue to play without senior Ryan Kelly (13.4 ppg), who has missed the last seven games with a right foot injury.

"We would love to have Ryan back, but we have learned to play with this group," Krzyzewski said. "I am not saying we are a great team, but we are a good team now with this group."

Duke - one of the nation's top 3-point shooting teams at 41.1 percent - could look to take advantage of a Boston College defense letting ACC opponents hit a league-worst 42.7 percent of their 3-point tries.

Boston College (10-12, 2-7) is winless in three games against Top 25 foes, including a 72-50 loss at No. 8 Miami on Tuesday.

Freshman guard Joe Rahon had 26 points in a 75-68 win over Clemson three days earlier, then went 0 for 4 from the floor and did not score in 33 minutes against the Hurricanes.

"That's what you see in freshmen and young players," coach Steve Donahue said. "We're not a team that necessarily understands how we're going to win every game. We're just trying to develop that."

Curry scored 18 in Duke's 75-50 win at Boston College last season. The Eagles have lost five straight meetings with the Blue Devils and are 1-10 in the series since joining the ACC.

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