The NCAA brings us an action-packed weekend of basketball this week, highlighted by a battle between Baylor and Kansas. On Saturday night, the action continues with the Duke Blue Devils hosting the Virginia Tech Hokies.
A win from Duke could put it atop the ACC standings. They’re currently only a half-game back of Louisville, which plays during the day Saturday. Virginia Tech sits way back in 11th but hopes to steal a win from Duke on the road.
Duke is 12-3 in conference play this season, 22-4 overall. They sit just behind Louisville for the ACC lead. Louisville is 13-3 and 22-5. Virginia Tech is only 6-9 in conference play this season, 15-11 overall.
Tech has only picked up three wins on the road this season. Duke is 12-2 at home, so they won’t pick up an easy one on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 8 pm ET.
Making the Tournament
Virginia Tech can’t help but shoot for the ACC tournament to propel the team into the dance. Their resume just isn’t going to get them there it doesn’t seem. Until they went 1-6 over their last seven, they may have had a shot at the dance naturally. Nonetheless, they ramble on.
Led by freshman guards Landers Nolley II and Tyrece Radford, the Hokies backcourt has been phenomenal this season. Nolley has been named ACC freshman player of the week five times this season. Nolley averages 17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. No small feat for a freshman in the toughest conference in the nation.
Disappointed Down the Stretch
According to the latest AP poll, Duke remains the highest-ranked team in the ACC. They come in at 6th in the country, with Florida State just two spots behind them at 8th. Louisville comes in at 11th. Of course, the 6th seed doesn’t cure the disappointment they felt when losing their last game to NC State by 22.
You could see the post-game frustration from Coach K, even in the handshake line.
Duke is led by a few freshmen itself. Center Vernon Carey Jr. and guard Cassius Stanley have been major standouts. Carey puts up 18.0 points and eight boards per game. Stanley throws in 12 points and 4.8 assists of his own.
Sophomore guard Tre Jones is bringing 12 points per game to the table, to go along with his two steals per game. Duke is 2-1 coming off a loss this season.
The Power Conference
The ACC and Big Ten have duked it out much of the season, for the battle of the best conference in basketball. Neither conference looks to slow down anytime soon. This ACC battle, as all are, should be another good one.
Duke is an even .500 against the spread this season at 13-13, including a .500 record ATS at home as well. Virginia Tech comes in at 11-15 against the spread.
Duke is favored by 16, with an over/under of 142 in this showdown. Duke just hasn’t been consistent enough for me to lay my money on -16. The pick here is the Hokies at +16. Duke likely wins, but the Hokies cover. Good luck!
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