When Virginia Tech joined the ACC, two things were clear: the Hokies would
pound the Blue Devils in football, and Duke would return the favor in
basketball. One out of two ain’t bad. Football has gone as expected, but the
basketball end of this matchup is quickly turning into a great rivalry. Duke
might not think so, but I do.
Duke fans, players, coaches and administrators can be forgiven if they don’t
consider VT to be a rival in basketball. The history of the ACC is now 53 years
old, rich in tradition, and Duke’s longstanding rivalries with N.C. State,
Maryland, Wake Forest, Virginia, and of course North Carolina, with scores of
classic games played over the years, dwarf three years of games against Virginia
Tech. VT is just a minor blip on the Duke basketball radar.
But throughout the Hokie Nation, Duke/VT is already knockdown, drag-out
series, a barn-burner, a nascent rivalry that challenges any in Hokie history.
Never boring and often thrilling, the Blue Devils and Hokies have played five
times now, and every matchup has been one to remember. Can you imagine 53 years
of this? How could you even get close to remembering them all?
In 2004-05, VT got a rude welcome to the ACC and that Cameron Indoor Home
Cookin’, when Duke walloped Tech 100-65 in one of the most ridiculously
“officiated” games I’ve ever seen. The Hokies responded later that
year with their classic 67-65 win in Blacksburg.
In 2005-06, Duke broke Tech’s heart with “The Shot”, in a game that
featured much more than just that 40-footer. The Hokies outscored Duke 12-0
after the last media timeout to take a one-point lead, before being crushed by
Sean Dockery’s lucky launch. In the return trip to Blacksburg, the Blue Devils
handled Tech easily, winning 80-67 on the strength of 24 points each from
Shelden Williams and J.J. Redick, but the game still had some spice to it. That
was the contest in which Deron Washington kicked Duke’s Lee Melchionni a
glancing blow to the face, leading to an ejection and a one-game suspension.
Nothing gets a rivalry juiced up like a good kick to the face. That was also the
game in which Jamon Gordon posterized Duke’s Greg Paulus with a late dunk that
meant little to the game’s outcome but which provided a classic
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