Virginia Tech-Duke Preview
Virginia Tech’s play in February has put the Hokies near the top
of the ACC. Duke’s similar success this month is why it remains in
first place in the league.
With each team looking for a sixth straight victory, the
sixth-ranked Blue Devils try for a fourth consecutive win over the
surging Hokies on Sunday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke (22-4, 10-2) has a one-game edge over Maryland in the
conference, with Virginia Tech 1 1/2 games behind the Blue Devils.
Both teams are undefeated in February.
“For both teams, I feel like it’s a must-win. We can separate
ourselves in first place, and they can get closer to first place
with a win, so both teams are going to be playing as hard as they
can,” Duke guard Nolan Smith told the school’s official Web site.
“It’s going to be a very hard-fought game.”
While both are playing well, the deciding factor could be how
well the Hokies (21-4, 8-3) handle the hostile environment of
Duke is 14-0 at home and has won each of its six league games in
Durham by at least 14 points. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, is 1-16 at
Cameron, losing 69-44 in its last visit Jan. 4, 2009. That came
almost exactly two years after the Hokies won 69-67 in overtime at
Virginia Tech, however, might be playing with more confidence
than any team in the league after beating No. 23 Wake Forest 87-83
at home Tuesday.
“We’ve still got a couple games where we’ve got a point to prove
and show people that we’re a good team,” said Hokies junior guard
Malcolm Delaney, the ACC’s leading scorer at 20.2 points per
Though Delaney has averaged 7.7 points and shot 9 of 30 in three
games against Duke, he scored 10 of his 31 in the final 7 minutes
to help the Hokies upset the Demon Deacons.
Delaney’s ability to get to the foul line could also make a
difference Sunday. He is shooting 84.4 percent from the line and
has attempted a league-high 198 free throws.
While Delaney is one of the conference’s best players, he’ll
likely need help for the Hokies to pull off a second straight
upset. Backcourt mate Dorenzo Hudson is averaging 14.0 points, but
has totaled four points and shot 0 of 10 in three games versus the
Duke returns home after rallying to win 81-74 over Miami on
Wednesday. Down 12 at the half, the Blue Devils took advantage of
22 Hurricanes turnovers and outscored them 56-37 in the final 20
“(Coach Mike Krzyzewski) called us out,” said Smith, who had 21
points. “He let us know, ‘It’s now or never. You can take control
of the ACC right now or put ourselves in a hole.'”
Jon Scheyer, second to Delaney at 19.1 points per contest, had
15 on 3-of-15 shooting while dealing with a sore back. He has
averaged 11.3 points on 40.0 percent shooting in four games versus
The Blue Devils’ second-half defense was the difference against
Miami. Opponents have averaged 62.8 points and 14.4 turnovers
during Duke’s current winning streak.
“A lot of times, our defense gives us offense,” Scheyer
Duke preseason All-American Kyle Singler had 22 points and 11
rebounds against Miami. He has averaged 18.7 points in three games
against Virginia Tech.