Saturday, February 28, 2009

Duke-Virginia Tech Prediction

Duke Blue Devils at Virginia Tech Hokies
Saturday 3 PM

Duke travels to Virginia Tech on Saturday looking to extend their three game winning streak. The Hokies are fresh off a big road win over Clemson this week, but still need a good win or two to bolster their NCAA Tournament prospects.


Duke 23-5, 9-4, 5-4 (away), RPI #2
Va Tech 17-10, 7-6, 9-3 (home), RPI #55


Duke has won 5 of the last 7
Duke has won 2 of the last 3 in Blacksburg

Last Meeting - Duke 69 Va Tech 44 January 04 2009

Duke used a strong second half to pull away from the Hokies in Cameron Indoor. Both teams had trouble hanging onto the ball with 35 combined turnovers. Duke held VT to just 37 percent shooting and just 1 for 9 from three point range. The Blue Devils hit the glass hard grabbing 15 offensive rebounds. VT guard Malcolm Delaney was held to just 12 points while Duke had four players in double figures.


What Duke Must Do To Win...

1. Shoot Well
In Duke's five losses they average 40.6 percent from the floor versus 46 percent in their 23 wins.

2. Get to the Free Throw Line
Another trend for the Dukies is in their five losses they shoot just over 16 free throws whereas their season average is 24 per game. Based on their percentage of makes this account for about 6 points per game less in their losses.

3. Win the Bench Production Battle
Neither team is very team in terms of scorers off the bench, but with freshman Elliot Williams seeing quality minutes, Greg Paulus is the scoring leader of the second unit. Paulus needs to bring some good relief for a team that usually goes at most nine deep.

What Virginia Tech Must Do To Win...

1. Be Efficient on Offense
The Hokies rank 102nd in the nation in points per possession while Duke ranks 17th. Va Tech has to take care of the ball and not allow Duke to get to their average of 17 forced turnovers per game from opponents.

2. Guard The 3 Point Line
Duke is not going to beat you with half court feeds into the post. Seth Greenberg has to reiterate to his team how important guarding the outside shot will be because Duke is not the type of slashing team these Hokies have seen in the past. Plus, if Duke is cold early then they have a tendency to get rattled.

3. Control the Boards
Virginia Tech is a pretty good rebounding team, but they will have to box out against one of the better offensive rebounding teams in Duke. Coach K knows that VT is not likely to get out and run a lot on misses so he will likely have his team crashing the offensive glass.


Duke has gotten a big boost as of late from freshman Elliot Williams. If he and Paulus have good games then I see Duke taking this one. Virginia Tech will have to dominate the post with Jeff Allen if they want to pull off the home upset. But I like Duke to win this one because of how well they have played in the last week.

Duke wins by 1-6 points

Season: 19-18 SU through 2/24

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