Virginia Tech Over Duke: The Hokies Do It Again

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Virginia Tech fans
For the third year in a row, Virginia Tech fans celebrated a win over Duke in Cassell. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

All day Tuesday, I had a calm, confident feeling about this game. That’s not the same as predicting a win – I’m not that brash – but once it was announced that Zion Williamson was out, I had a feeling the Hokies were at least going to be competitive with Duke.

The oddsmakers and computer models seemed to agree. The spread was small in favor of Duke, and though I didn’t memorize the pre-game predictors, I recall that they gave the Hokies about a 30-35% chance of winning. Those are pretty good odds.

I understand any pessimism. Last year, a very similar Virginia Tech team beat Duke on a last-second tip, and this year’s team has had Chris Clarke (suspension) and Justin Robinson (injury) subtracted from it. Still, with Kerry Blackshear tearing up the conference in the month of February, I could see a path to victory for the Hokies. It would require others to step up, but in the words of comedienne Judy Tenuta, “It could happen.”

(Yeah, I don’t know why I’ve had that stuck in my memory for years and years, either. I’ll bet most of you have never heard of her or ever heard her say that. But I digress.)

For 56 years, from 1949 to 2005, the