Hokies host #4 Duke

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Date: Wednesday, February 25
Time: 9pm
TV: ESPN2

Virginia Tech will host #4 Duke tonight in Cassell Coliseum in the first and only meeting of the season between the two teams.

The Blue Devils are 24-3 overall and 11-3 in conference play. Duke began the season 5-3 in the ACC, but have run off six consecutive wins. They have road victories over UVA, Louisville, and Wisconsin. This is one of the best teams in the country, and a likely #1 seen in the NCAA Tournament in March.

Here’s a look at Duke’s starting lineup…

G Tyus Jones (6-1, 190, Fr.): 11.7 ppg, 150 assists, 38 steals. Jones is playing at a very high level as a true freshman. He is a 40% three-point shooter, and he is projected as a late first round pick in the NBA Draft.

G Quinn Cook (6-2, 185, Sr.): 15.5 ppg, 77 assists. Cook is the cagey veteran of this Duke team. He has been through the battles, and he is playing at a high level right now. Cook shoots 40.7% from the outside.

G Justice Winslow (6-6, 225, Fr.): 11.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 27 steals. Winslow is another freshman who is playing great basketball. He’s a 38.3% three-point shooter, and he’s very good close to the basket. He is projected as a lottery pick in June’s NBA Draft.

F Amile Jefferson (6-9, 215, Jr.): 7.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg. Jefferson is Duke’s only starter who doesn’t average double figures. However, he is shooting at a 63.1% clip.

C Jahlil Okafor (6-11, 270, Fr.): 17.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 38 blocks. The freshman phenom leads Duke in points, rebounds and blocked shots. There’s a strong chance that he will be the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. He is an extremely tough matchup.

Okafor missed the Clemson game with a sprained ankle over the weekend, and there’s a chance that he won’t play tonight.  Still, Duke managed to beat Clemson by 22, therefore they should still have a big advantage against Virginia Tech.

The Blue Devils have a bench of exactly three players: Matt Jones (6-5, 210, So.), Marshall Plumlee (7-0, 255, Jr.) and Grayson Allen (6-4, 195, Fr.). Those three guys combine for a total of just over 35 minutes per game, so Duke doesn’t exactly have a deep bench.

Overall, Duke has eight scholarship players (including four freshmen and a sophomore) and only one senior on the entire roster. Despite their depth issues and their youth, the Blue Devils have actually gotten better since the dismissal of Rasheed Sulaimon following a loss to Notre Dame on January 28. A little over a week after that dismissal, Duke beat that same Notre Dame team by 30, and they are 6-0 since Sulaimon’s ouster.

In short, this is one of Coach K’s best coaching jobs in a career of masterful coaching jobs. Obviously it helps to have three first round picks on the roster, but their turnaround since late January has been very impressive. This was a team that lost three out of six games from January 11 through January 28. Now they have a strong shot to earn a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The advanced stats tell a sad tale for the Hokies:

Offensive efficiency: VT #204, Duke #3
Defensive efficiency: VT #239, Duke #81
Rebounding rate: VT #343, Duke #20
Turnovers per possession: VT #145, Duke #41
Opp. Turnovers per possession: VT #134, Duke #226

The Hokies turn their opponents over at a higher rate than Duke, which is somewhat surprising. However, the rest of those numbers are heavily in favor of the Blue Devils, especially offensive efficiency and rebounding. This is not a good matchup for Tech, but then again, there are precious few good matchups for VT this season.

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6 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Okafor rest again (and the last Plumlee to get 15 pts, 10 rebounds). Quinn Cook has reminded me a bit of Erick Green – he wasn’t a good shooter as a freshman/sophomore (except against VT of course) but has developed into possibly the biggest outside threat in the ACC. I hope Buzz and his staff can develop these freshmen (and the next few classes) on a similar arc, because there’s definitely talent there…

  2. Our ONLY hope is for them to rest Okafor’s ankle for one more game, then the size matchup isn’t so bad….now the talent…only Bibbs when he’s on could probably earn minutes for Duke

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