FEB. 22 | CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM | DURHAM, NC | 8PM
Overall: 60th meeting; Duke leads, 49-10 In Durham: Duke leads, 20-1 In Blacksburg: Duke leads, 13-7 At neutral/unknown sites: Duke leads, 16-2 Current streak: Duke, W2 Coach K vs. Virginia Tech: 19-6
TV: ESPN (Dave O’Brien/Corey Alexander) WatchESPN: https://goduke.us/2HVSfaZ Radio: Blue Devil Sports Network (David Shumate/John Roth) Duke Radio Affiliates: https://goduke.us/2JGmXWG National Radio: n/a Sirius/XM: 138/193 (Duke broadcast)
Duke vs Virginia Tech
No. 6 Duke is back at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday night looking to sweep the season series from Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils (12-3 ACC) enter the weekend tied for second with Florida State in the ACC standings. Duke and FSU are each a half-game back of Louisville for the top spot. The Blue Devils are looking to rebound from a 22 point drubbing at the hands of NC State. While the loss was a bad loss, the outlook for this team is still positive, having only lost 4 games at this point last year as well. The Blue Devils need no more motivation than their last outing to take control of Virginia Tech early and take care of business. The Blue Devils should be favored in this game, especially after coming off of a loss and being at home. Sports Betting Dime will show the odds in real-time but I fully expect Duke to be heavy favorites.
Saturday’s game is the 60th meeting between Duke and Virginia Tech, with the Blue Devils leading 49-10. In Durham, Duke has won 20 of the 21 all-time meetings. The game matches up two of the ACC’s highest-scoring players in Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr. (18.0 ppg; third) and Tech’s Landers Nolley II (17.3; fourth) -- both are freshmen. Sophomore Tre Jones’ 15 points led four Blue Devils in double figures when the teams met earlier this season in Blacksburg -- a 77-63 Duke win. In last season’s Sweet 16 win, then-freshman Jones played all 40 minutes and posted his first career 20-point effort with 22 points and eight assists on 8-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-7 from three-point range. First-year head coach Mike Young spent the previous 17 years as head coach at Wofford, where he was 299-244 and took the Terriers to the NCAA Tournament five times. Young faced Duke just once in his time at Wofford -- an 84-55 Blue Devil win at Cameron Indoor on Dec. 31, 2014.
Virginia Tech just completed a three-game homestand that saw a win over Pitt and overtime losses to both Boston College and Miami. Freshman Landers Nolley II leads the Hokies in scoring and rebounds at 17.3 and 6.3, respectively. Only two players on Tech’s squad average double-figure points, but seven players are averaging 5.5+ points. After a stretch of eight wins in nine games midseason, Virginia Tech has won just twice over its last nine games -- three of which have been decided in overtime.
Players to Watch
Redshirt freshman Landers Nolley II is having a big season so far for the Hokies, in addition to being the Hokies leading scorer and rebounder, Nolley is shooting over 50% from beyond he arc. The 6'7 guard will be an interesting matchup for the Blue Devils especially if freshman Cassius Stanley is still out for Friday night's game.
Duke remains No. 6 in the NET (as of Feb. 16), which is the primary evaluation tool used by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee, for which Duke Director of Athletics Kevin White is the chairman. Two of Duke’s three losses this season came in back-toback games without freshman Wendell Moore Jr. (broken hand), while its third loss was to Stephen F. Austin on a buzzer-beater in overtime. SFA is 23-3 overall and leads the Southland Conference at 14-1. Neither Moore nor Joey Baker (ankle) played in Duke’s loss at Clemson on Jan. 14. The Blue Devils’ overall strength of schedule is No. 14, while its non-conference strength of schedule is No. 7. Other metrics for Duke: No. 1 BPI (Basketball Power Index), No. 5 KenPom, No. 6 Sagarin, No. 8 Strength of Record.
Six different Blue Devils have led the team in scoring through 26 games -- Tre Jones, Vernon Carey Jr., Matthew Hurt, Cassius Stanley, Joey Baker and Jordan Goldwire. Duke has deployed 12 different starting lineups -- its most (by two) in at least the last six seasons. Fifteen times this season, Duke has had four or more score in double figures. Five times this season, five or more have reached double digits. Five different players have recorded a 20-point game. Four players are averaging double figures in points, while eight are averaging 4.7+ points per game. Seven are averaging 3.2+ rebounds per game. Ten are averaging 13.3+ minutes per game.
Vernon Carey Jr. leads the Blue Devils in both scoring and rebounding, the freshman is nearly averaging a double-double at 18 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. Tre Jones leads the Blue Devils in assists. The sophomore is averaging 15.8 points to go with his 6.5 assists per game.
Probable Starting Lineups
Guard - Tre Jones - 6'3, 185lbs
Guard - Cassius Stanley - 6'6, 193lbs
Guard - Wendell Moore - 6'6, 213lbs
Forward - Matthew Hurt - 6'9, 214lbs
Center - Vernon Carey - 6'10, 270lbs
Guard - Wabissa Bede - 6'0, 200lbs
Guard - Tyrece Radford - 6'1, 205lbs
Guard - Nahiem Alleyne - 6'3, 195lbs
Guard - Landers Nolley II - 6'7, 225lbs
Forward - P.J. Horne - 6'6, 225lbs