Game Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs the Virginia Tech Hokies

Brian HoraceGame Previews, General InformationLeave a Comment

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Duke (20-5, 8-4)

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Virginia Tech (18-7, 7-5)

When: February. 14| 7:00 PM (ET)
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium - Durham, NC

Watch Live: ESPN2

Duke, still a team in search of consistency, comes home to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on a hot Virginia Tech team fresh off of a win against arguably the best team in the country in UVA in overtime. Tech is a team brimming with confidence and with the blueprint to beat Duke readily available, even at Cameron this should be a tough matchup.

For the Blue Devils, the status of freshman big Marvin Bagley III is still in question, and while the Devils did look good for a large stretch of the game at Georgia Tech, Bagley was still missed in the scoring column and on the defensive glass. Also in flux is the state of Duke at the point guard position. For the first game this season Duke did not start Trevon Duval at the point guard spot, choosing instead to utilize senior guard Grayson Allen at that 1 spot and playing Alex O'Connell and Gary Trent Jr. as the guard triumvirate. Grayson, by the numbers, is a great distributer of the basketball and had 6 assists against Georgia Tech, but Allen is not a steady ball handler and was forced into 4 turnovers in the game. Down the stretch Tech was able to press Duke at the 1 spot and force some bad decisions from the senior. Duval, for his spot, only had 1 turnover in 25 minutes of play and scored 9 points including a run stopping 3 pointer as Tech closed the gap.

The key for Duke is to contain Justin Robinson, no problem, he's only the hottest player in the ACC right now and coming off games of 20, 32 and 22 points. Robinson is shooting 40% from beyond the arc but is by no means singularly a perimeter scorer ; he's also shooting 52% from 2pt range and has the ability to blow by. Robinson is also the Hokies main distributor averaging 5.7 assists per game. I'm not sure Duke has a player that can match up with Robinson but he is by no means the only threat. Justin Bibbs, the Hokies second leading scorer, is averaging 13.6 a game and shooting just under 40% from 3point range as well.

The Hokies will most decidedly have the edge on the perimeter but if Duke shows up, the Duke that beat MSU, the Duke that beat TX and Florida actually shows up then the Devils should have the edge in the paint. Rebounding is not a strong suit of this Hokies team and if the Duke players decide that they want to box out they should have an advantage but as we have seen in recent defeats and games that have been closer than they should have been; A size advantage doesn't necessarily equate to a rebounding advantage. Duke will need to defend at a high level to have any sort of chance in this game - but beyond just defending Duke has to pursue and value the basketball. In recent games Duke has played serviceable defense only to give up and offensive board and allow a team more opportunities. Losing those types of rebounds and 50-50 plays are how you lose games.

Offensively, Duke has to do a better job of valuing the basketball as well as the possession. Turnovers, ill-advised shots and mental mistakes have been the Achilles' heel for this Duke team - often times losing leads due to a stagnation on the offensive end of the floor, is compounded by a lack of communication in transition defense or a failure to body a man under the basket for a rebound. These situations are recipes for an upset at home. The Blue Devils need to shore up these things to be able to hold off a surging Hokies team.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Duke:

F Marvin Bagley III
F Wendell Carter Jr.
G Gary Trent Jr.
G Grayson Allen
G Trevon Duval

 

Georgia Tech:

F Kerry Blackshear Jr.
G Devin Wilson
G Nickeil Alexander-Walker
G Justin Robinson
G Justin Bibbs

  • No. 12 Duke begins a stretch of three of four at home with Virginia Tech Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
  • The Hokies have won two straight and five of their last six games, including a win at now-No. 1 Virginia on Saturday.
  • Wednesday’s game matches up the two highest scoring teams in the ACC. Duke averages 88.8 ppg (tied for first in the NCAA), while Virginia Tech averages 83.7.
  • Gary Trent, Jr., leads the ACC in three-point shooting in conference play (.500; 41/82). His overall percentage of .454 is second in the ACC and leads all NCAA freshmen.
  • Trent has made 15 of his last 24 (.625), 37 of his last 62 (.597), and 54 of his last 101 (.535) from three-point range.
  • Wendell Carter, Jr., is the only player in the nation shooting .600+ from field, .450+ from three and .700+ at the free throw line. He leads the ACC in both overall field goal percentage (.605) and in league play (.600).
  • Led by Marvin Bagley III’s 21.2 points, Duke has five averaging in double figures. The Blue Devils have an effective field goal percentage of .570 (16th nationally) and are second in offensive efficiency (127.1).
  • Since KenPom began tracking offensive efficiency in 2002, Duke’s 127.1 rating would be the third-highest on record.
  • Bagley is bidding to be the first Blue Devil, and the league’s first freshman, to lead the ACC in scoring and rebounding. Of the 12 previous ACC players to accomplish it, eight have won the league’s Player of the Year Award.
  • Bagley is second nationally with 18 double-doubles, and has tied Duke’s freshman record for dunks in a season (64).
Duke FG Percentage
50.4%
Virginia Tech FG Percentage
51.4%
Duke 3pt Percentage
38.9%
Virginia Tech 3pt Percentage
39.7%
Duke FT Percentage
69.6%
Virginia Tech FT Percentage
71.7%
Duke Scoring Average
88.8
Virginia Tech Scoring Average
83.7

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