The odds seem heavily favored in the Blue Devils way tonight against Virginia Tech, but sometimes games can defy the obvious logic. Yes, Tech is last in the conference at 2-10 but this is a team that took North Carolina State to overtime on the road and Duke cannot afford to have a misstep. This team has absolutely no chance to make the NCAAT and at this point in the season have nothing to lose – these are the teams that are dangerous to the Blue Devils and Duke must not take them lightly. With 8 consecutive losses this team is looking to make its mark and shock the world and what better way, what better opportunity than against a highly ranked team in your home gym.
Virginia Tech boasts the conferences leading scorer in Erick Green who is averaging 25.3 points a game and 4 assists. Everything Tech does runs through Green and he’s top ten in the conference in several categories. If Duke keys on Green as they should he will look to get others involved in the offense. Duke will also have to keep an eye on Jarell Eddie who is averaging 13 points a game for the Hokies. The junior forward will probably look to force the issue against Dukes patchwork lineup of bigs. No other player on the Hokies squad averages in double figures although freshman forward Marshall Wood came off the bench against NC State to score 14 points, hitting 4 of 9 from 3 and pulling down 16 rebounds. He can stretch the defense of Duke much like Ryan Kelly did for the Devils earlier in the season. Duke will have to take note when Wood comes into the game and mark him as a shooter. This game could be a good redeem game for Mason Plumlee and the Duke defense after the debacle in College Park.
I look to see big games by the usual suspects. Mason will need to have a huge game to keep his name hot in the mouths of POY voters but most importantly to re-establish himself as the best big in the ACC. This could also be a big night for Duke guards, Sheed, Curry and Cook could all have monster nights if Duke can keep the turnovers down and rebound. This game could also be a good opportunity for bench players like Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee to make waves and earn more minutes from Coach K. A good showing could aid in that.
Where You Watchin’
|Thu, Feb 21||Virginia Tech *||-||Blacksburg, Va.||9:00 p.m.||ESPN2
Courtesy of Duke Sports Information
The Opening Tip
• The Blue Devils are ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll and in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Duke is 104-29 all-time when ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll.
• The Blue Devils have been ranked in the AP Top 10 for 109 consecutive weeks. Duke had been ranked in the top five for 13 straight weeks prior to this week’s No. 6 ranking.
• Duke is playing its 202nd straight game as a top-10 team in the AP poll. Duke is 168-33 in that span.
• Head coach Mike Krzyzewski is tied with Adolph Rupp for the third-most wins by a coach at one school with 876.
• Duke is playing back-to-back road games – excluding neutral sites – for only the second time this season. Duke defeated Wake Forest and Florida State in consecutive road games on Jan. 30 and Feb. 2.
• Duke is 9-3 away from Cameron Indoor Stadium this season.
The Last Time Out
• Rasheed Sulaimon hit three straight free throws to tie the game at 81-81 with 16 seconds left, but Maryland freshman Seth Allen sank a pair of free throws with two seconds left to lead the Terrapins past Duke, 83-81, in the Comcast Center Wednesday.
• After going scoreless in the first half, Sulaimon scored 16 points in the second half and hit all seven free throws.
• Seth Curry scored 25 points for Duke on 11-of-17 shooting. Quinn Cook contributed 18 points, and Josh Hairston scored a season-high 11.
• Duke forced 26 Maryland turnovers, scoring 27 points off Terrapin miscues. The 26 turnovers tied for the most by a Duke opponent this season.
• Maryland, which ranks second nationally in rebounds per game and rebounding margin, outrebounded Duke 40-20.
• Duke, ranked No. 6 in the latest AP Poll, has been ranked in the top 10 of the poll 109 consecutive weeks. The last time Duke was not ranked in the top 10 was Nov. 19, 2007.
• Duke is one of only three teams in the top 10 of the Associated Press Poll (No. 6), Coaches Poll (No. 6), NCAA RPI (No. 1) and Strength of Schedule index (No. 1). Miami and Louisville are the other two teams ranked among the top 10.
• Duke leads the ACC in three-point percentage (.408) and three-point field goals per game (7.6 3pg.). The .408 clip would rank as the third-best in school history. Duke has made 10 or more three-point field goals eight times this season.
• Head coach Mike Krzyzewski is tied with Adolph Rupp for the third-most career victories at one school. Krzyzewski is 876-235 (.789) all-time as Duke’s head coach. Krzyzewski is three wins shy of tying Dean Smith for second all-time at one school and 34 shy of all-time leader Jim Boeheim.
• Coach K needs just one more win to reach 950 for his career. He is the winningest coach in Division I men’s basketball with 40 more wins than the next closest coach.
• Duke has lost back-to-back games just once since the 2009-10 season. Duke’s record following a loss during that span is 16-1.
• Duke is one of only two teams in the ACC with five players averaging double-digit scoring. Mason Plumlee (17.6 ppg), Seth Curry (16.9), Ryan Kelly (13.4), Quinn Cook (12.3) and Rasheed Sulaimon (11.7) are all averaging double figures.
• Duke owns a 1.36:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which would best the school record of 1.32:1 set by the 2000-01 NCAA Championship team.
• Mason Plumlee needs just 13 more rebounds to reach 1,000 for his career. Plumlee would be the eighth Blue Devil to reach that mark and the third with 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 150 blocks.
• Seth Curry has scored 20 or more points in seven of Duke’s 12 ACC games. He has scored in double figures in all but two of those games and averages 17.6 points per game in league play to rank third in the ACC. Curry also ranks among the top five in league play in three-pointers per game (t-1st, 3.0) and free throw percentage (3rd, .825).
• In Duke’s two games following a loss this season, freshman Rasheed Sulaimon averages a team-high 20.0 points per game while shooting .750 (9-of-12) from three-point range. Seth Curry averages 18.5 ppg and Mason Plumlee 17.5 ppg in games following a loss.
Duke-Virginia Tech Series History
• Duke leads the all-time series with Virginia Tech 40-8, with a combined 20-6 record in games outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke is 9-5 against Virginia Tech on the road and 11-1 at neutral sites.
• The Duke-Virginia Tech series began on Feb. 16, 1912 when Duke won 37-32.
• Duke is 11-3 against Virginia Tech under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
• Duke has won four straight meetings and eight of the last nine contests.
• The last two meetings have been decided by an average of 4.5 points. Duke defeated Virginia Tech 70-65 in overtime in the final meeting of the 2011-12 regular season and then pulled out a 60-56 win in the 2012 ACC Tournament.
• Duke is 11-3 against Virginia Tech since the Hokies joined the ACC in 2004-05.