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Preview: Virginia Tech faces stern road test at second-ranked Duke

virginia tech logoThe Virginia Tech men’s basketball team looks for its first win in the ACC when they travel to Durham to face No. 2 Duke on Wednesday night.

The Hokies lost their opener to Wake Forest on Dec. 4 but have won two of three games since, including a convincing 86-49 win over a quality St. Bonaventure team on Friday. Duke, meanwhile, have won three straight.

Where to watch?

The game is set to tip off at 9 p.m. ET, and it will air nationally on ESPN2.

What to know about VT

This team has been so inconsistent on offense, and they hope Friday’s win will jump start things. Against the Bonnies, the Hokies shot 46.4 percent from deep and 54.9 percent from the field. Point guard Storm Murphy had a season-high 18 points and snapped a streak of six games without reaching double-digit points. In six of those games, he failed to score. Getting him going is key. He has the ability to be a solid ACC point guard, but it’s taking him a little while to adjust to the massive step up in competition from his time at Wofford. Look for him to again get to the basket but also try and create his own three-point shots. If he can hit them, VT can compete here.

What to know about Duke

What Duke is going to show up? The one that beat arguably the top team in the country, Gonzaga, 84-81 under a month ago? Or the one that blew a lead at Ohio State just days later? The Blue Devils are loaded and can score at will, but where they can have trouble is when they face team with a strong perimeter defense. The Hokies now have some size inside too, and it could be quite the defensive battle if Tech can match the energy of the home crowd. Expect Duke to look strong early, and if they can limit what Tech does from deep, they could cruise.

Prediction

The Blue Devils get off to a hot start and put Tech away in the second half behind an efficient offense that limits turnovers.
Duke 71, Virginia Tech 59

Story by Roger Gonzalez


augusta free press
augusta free press