Duke Blue Devils (24-5) at Virginia Tech Hokies (20-9)
We coasted to one of our easiest victories of the year last night when we backed the North Carolina State Wolf Pack at home against the Seminoles of Florida State. I was shocked when I saw the line open at such a small number, NC State -1.5-points and was even more perplexed when the sharps jumped on the side of the Seminoles and pushed the number to -1.
After watching the game, I am just as confused. This game wasn’t remotely competitive. The Wolfpack opened up a huge twenty-point first-half lead and took this one with ease, 92-72. I mentioned that Florida State shouldn’t be at all trusted on the road in ACC play, and this game just reinforced that claim.
This Wolfpack team has shown they can beat any team in the country and they are going to be a tough out in the NCAA tournament. I would hate to be the one or two seed that has to match up with this squad in the second round of the Big Dance, can you say upset alert?
Today I will stay in the ACC for a matchup up two more ACC teams that will be dancing in March, when the Duke Blue Devils play the Virginia Tech Hokies.
The Duke Blue Devils will travel to Blacksburg, Virginia Monday night to face the Hokies of Virginia Tech in an ACC battle. Duke welcomed back the return of freshman superstar Marvin Bagley in their last game, and the big man did not disappoint as he led the Blue Devils in scoring while shooting a scintillating 8-9 from the field.
For Virginia Tech, the Hokies are looking for one last big signature win to boost their seed in the NCAA tournament. The Blue Devils are -5.5-point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 155 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST from Cassell Coliseum.
The Duke Blue Devils are the most talented team in the nation this year. They have two NBA lottery pick locks in Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter Jr. and a veteran sharpshooter in Grayson Allen. Gary Trent Jr. would be the best player on most teams, and barely gets mentioned amongst the elite of this Duke lineup. The Blue Devils have used that absurd level of talent to spend much of the season ranked in the top five in the nation.
Duke has big wins over Michigan State, Florida, Texas, Florida State, Miami, and Clemson. The Blue Devils won’t win the ACC regular season title, that honor will go to Tony Bennett’s Virginia team, but that doesn’t mean they won’t win the ACC tournament or even the national title.
Duke is turning it on when it matters, and coach K has his team playing very well at the moment, having won five straight games. And four of those wins came with Bagley on the bench with an injury. They will need a full effort tonight if they want to win in very hostile territory against a game Virginia Tech team.
Virginia Tech has been a bit of an afterthought this year in the ACC. But that says a lot more about just how good this league is this year than it does about the Hokies. Virginia Tech is 9-7 in the nation’s best league and they are locks to be playing in the NCAA tournament. It has been a bit surprising though that the Hokies have struggled to protect their home court in ACC play.
The Hokies have home losses to Louisville, Miami, Florida State, and Virginia this season, and will face another very tough test tonight with Duke. The Hokies aren’t terrible at home they have beaten NC State, Clemson, and North Carolina at home, they are just inconsistent on their home floor. They will need to play their best game of the season tonight to hold off a surging Duke team.
These two teams just matched up two weeks ago in North Carolina. There was nothing about that game that was competitive. Duke dominated from the tip and eventually blew the Hokies out 74-52. Oh, and yeah, Marvin Bagley didn’t even play. The Dukies dominated the Hokies on the glass as they outrebounded them 36-19, and that was without what might be the best rebounder in the country in Bagley.
I know Virginia Tech will play better at home than they did on the road in what is probably the toughest place in the country to play, at Duke. But I just don’t see any way that they can stop Carter and Bagley down low. And if they do? Grayson Allen lit them up for 25-points in the last meeting, shooting wide open shots, and could just as well do it again tonight.
The easy pick here is to take the home underdog. Home underdogs are a favorite pick of mine, and I rarely pass up the opportunity to get a team as good as Virginia Tech at home, getting this many points. But I just see a matchup nightmare for the Hokies and don’t know how they are going to keep Duke off the offensive glass.
I see lots of second-chance points for Duke and a not all that close game. -5.5-points is a lot of wood to lay on the road, but I can easily see this game playing out very similarly as the last one did, an easy Duke victory.
Give me the Duke Blue Devils -5.5-points tonight from Blacksburg!