Riding a seven-game losing streak, Virginia Tech (11-8, 1-7 ACC) hosts Duke (14-5, 5-3 ACC) in a ‘Big Monday’ clash at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN in Cassell Coliseum.
The Hokies fell to Clemson by one, 51-50, on Saturday evening. On the other side, the Blue Devils pulled out a 68-66 victory over Miami at home. They’ve won three of their last four games; their one loss came on the road at Clemson.
It’s the first trip to Blacksburg for Jon Scheyer as Duke’s head coach. He made two trips as a player, winning both meetings, and finished with a 4-1 record against the Hokies. Tech’s one win against him was Jan. 6, 2007 in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Mike Young is 2-3 against Duke in his time with Tech. The most recent victory came in the 2022 ACC Tournament Final, Mike Krzyzewski’s final ACC game, when the Hokies won 82-67. However, the Hokies have won four of the last five meetings in Blacksburg.
Veteran point guard Jeremy Roach (6-2, 180, Jr.) is the Blue Devils’ engine. While freshman Kyle Filipowski (7-0, 230, Fr.) is the team’s leading scorer at 14.9 points per game, Roach is slightly behind at 12.0. He missed multiple games in January with a toe injury that kept him out until last Saturday’s game vs. Miami.
Like most Duke teams, it’s a freshmen-laden group. While Roach and Filipowski are the top options in the offense – Filipowski has the ball in his hands on 29% of Duke’s possessions, which ranks 67th in D-I – Dariq Whitehead (6-7, 220, Fr.), Tyrese Proctor (6-5, 175, Fr.), Mark Mitchell (6-8, 220, Fr.) and Dereck Lively (7-1, 230, Fr.) play key roles in the surrounding cast.
It’s not just Roach and the freshmen, though. Two graduate students – Ryan Young (6-10, 235) and Jacob Grandison (6-6, 190) – are also influential. They transferred in from Northwestern and Illinois, respectively, and combine for 13 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Duke is slightly above Virginia Tech in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, according to Ken Pomeroy. While the Blue Devils are 46th and 35th, the Hokies rank 57th in both categories.
Duke is the best rebounding team in the conference, and it also ranks fourth in the nation in offensive rebound percentage (38.8%). Filipowski averages 9.5 boards per game while young, Mitchell and Lively are all dangerous on the glass. Tech’s defense has been solid in that area, particularly in ACC play, allowing the third-fewest offensive rebounds at a clip of 24.4%.
It’s going to come down to the paint. Duke’s 3-point defense is good, and the Hokies haven’t shot it at a fantastic clip all year. How does Mike Young match his team up defensively against the likes of Filipowski (7-0), Lively (7-1) and Young (6-10)? Can Tech stay out of foul trouble? With the students back, a sold-out Cassell Coliseum should also play a role in this one.