The Duke Blue Devils will attempt to get back to playing winning basketball when Virginia Tech visits Durham for an 8:00 tipoff on ESPN this Saturday.
Both teams are coming off disappointing losses but in a different fashion. The Hokie let a three-overtime game slip away to Miami, while Duke suffered a butt whipping to N.C. State.
The Hokies (15-11) have won just one of their last seven games. That means Duke will be a healthy favorite. But before you think it is a sure win, consider they were ranked early in the season and beat a then #3 Michigan State team. And is this where I mention they have a 14 point win over N.C. State?
Teams are fighting for their tournament lives this time of year and the Hokies are one of them. They're a guard-heavy team led by Landers Nolly that lost to Duke by 14 in the first matchup in Blacksburg.
Duke will likely come out with some fire. There was enough dejection from the way they lost to the Wolfpack to make sure focus will be intact come tipoff time.
The Blue Devils need to get their entire team involved again where they had a mere six assists in their last outing. But what people will look to see is if they come out with purpose.
Chances are that the Blue Devils will rebound with a win, but what the staff seeks is consistency in the team's effort. Duke can ill afford let-downs the rest of the season where just five regular-season games remain.
Duke will look to shut down two freshmen coming off their career games. Tyrece Radford and Jalen Cone scored 26 and 20 points respectively vs Miami.
The Blue Devils should also be able to score the ball inside where Vernon Carey Jr, should get looks early and often. Duke will also try and get their offense going beyond the big to of the aforementioned Carey and team leader Tre Jones.
The Blue Devils are currently a half-game out of first place in the ACC and tied with Florida State for second place.
- Duke holds an impressive 48-11 edge over Virginia Tech in the series which began in 1912.
- Duke is 12-3 in the last 15 meetings.
- Vernon Carey Jr. was just 4-7 in the first matchup, a 77-63 Duke win.
- Tre Jones led Duke in scoring with 15 points in the first game.