Virginia Tech-Duke Preview
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has a successful approach to the ACC
tournament. What he won’t have is starting forward Ryan Kelly.
The sixth-ranked Blue Devils will be without Kelly for the
entire tournament as they chase a fourth straight title beginning
Friday night in Atlanta against Virginia Tech.
Kelly sprained his right foot Tuesday during practice and will
be re-evaluated March 12. The 6-foot-11 junior averages 11.8 points
and 5.4 rebounds.
Krzyzewski, in search of his 14th ACC tournament title, isn’t
necessarily worried about playing three games in three days.
“You’ve got to plan like you’re playing the one game, play ’em
one at a time,” Krzyzewski said.
These teams met in the semifinals last year in their lone
previous ACC tournament matchup, with Duke (26-5) winning 77-63.
The Blue Devils haven’t lost in this event since a 78-74 semifinal
defeat to Clemson in 2008.
“It really doesn’t matter who we play,” Krzyzewski said. “The
road to a championship is going to be a difficult one because it
will start off with a real tough game and if you’re fortunate to go
to Saturday and Sunday, we’ve got a chance to play the top teams in
While Krzyzewski isn’t looking past Virginia Tech (16-16), his
players have their eyes set on a possible meeting with No. 4 North
Carolina in the championship game after the Tar Heels captured the
regular-season title with an 88-70 win last Saturday in Durham.
“Hopefully, we’ll win our first two games, and I hope we see
Carolina again,” guard Seth Curry said. “Go in there and try to win
the championship. You want to put a banner up. That’s your goal
coming into the season, and we didn’t do that in the regular
season, so hopefully we can do that in the postseason.”
Duke’s Austin Rivers was named ACC rookie of the year after
leading all conference freshmen with a team-best 15.3 scoring
“Individual awards are great but at the same time we are all
focused on winning championships as a team and that is what I want
to win,” Rivers said.
Rivers averaged 20.5 points on 52.2 percent shooting in two wins
over the Hokies this season. Virginia Tech was led in those games
by Erick Green, who averaged 16.5 points despite 41.9 percent
“What I kind of always tell our guys that first and foremost
when you play Duke, you’ve got to understand that they’re going to
draw a line in the sand each and every play,” Virginia Tech coach
Seth Greenberg said. “You’ve got to match their competitive spirit
before you can even worry about playing basketball.”
Green scored 24 points as Virginia Tech ended a four-game losing
streak with Thursday’s 68-63 win over Clemson. Dorenzo Hudson added
19 points – his highest total since a 31-point effort Nov. 15.
“The leadership they showed and the resiliency they showed and
the belief they showed in each other and their teammates was really
fun to watch,” Greenberg said. “They showed that toughness that is
Virginia Tech basketball.”
The winner will meet No. 17 Florida State or Miami in Saturday’s