The Virginia Tech Hokies lost all three games on their three-game road stand, but the Hokies will look to end their losing streak. However, Virginia Tech is playing one of the top teams in all of college basketball and the team that is probably the favorite to win the ACC Tournament with Justin Anderson out for Virginia.
The #4 Duke Blue Devils are coming to Cassell Coliseum tonight, but are facing a sold-out crowd that will likely be quite raucous even with some Duke fans there. However, the Blue Devils are used to facing sellout crowds with fans who are desperate to see their team pull off the big upset.
To say this is going to be really tough would be an understatement, but Buzz Williams will make sure his team is prepared. Having a coach like Williams instead of James Johnson like the past two seasons should give the Hokies a slightly better chance at pulling off the upset.
One big thing that could really impact the game is whether Duke superstar freshman Jahlil Okafor is able to play. The Hokies do not have anybody who could probably slow down the frontrunner to win every player of the year award. However, Okafor was unable to play against Clemson and if he isn’t able to play tonight, that would help the Hokies’ upset chances a lot.
Tyus Jones is not a great scorer, but he is one of the best ball distributing point guards in the country. Jones is this year’s Tyler Ennis and the Hokies will likely utilized Devin Wilson and Justin Bibbs on Jones when they aren’t in zone.
Wilson is still the Hokies’ primary point guard, and they will need him to step up in what is a tough matchup against Jones. If Wilson can find a way to force Jones to have a few turnovers, and make sure that he is not able to easily set up his teammates, the Hokies may have a better chance.
Justin Bibbs seems to have regained confidence shooting the basketball against NC State, and they will need him to keep it going against Duke. Bibbs has proven to be someone who can put up 20-25 points in a big game, and the Hokies likely would have at least one or two more ACC wins if it wasn’t for the concussion Bibbs suffered after the first few ACC games.
With Duke having a rotation of only 7 or 8 players depending on the health of Okafor, the Hokies need to push the tempo and try to wear down Duke. Duke has a lot of great athletes, but the Hokies also have plenty of quality athletes along with a lot more numbers which could make a difference if taken advantage of properly by Buzz Williams.
This is an extremely tough matchup for the Hokies, but the Virginia game proved that Virginia Tech has the potential to pull a surprise. However, Coach K and Duke are playing extremely well right now and the Blue Devils will take down the Hokies in front of a sellout crowd at Cassell Coliseum.
Prediction: #4 Duke 78, Virginia Tech 67
However, expect a court storming if the Hokies find a way to pull off the huge upset.