No. 21 Duke vs No. 19 Virginia Tech

No. 21 Duke vs No. 19 Virginia Tech | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on January 11, 2021

Because of some COVID scheduling issues, etc., Tuesday night will be just Duke’s second true road game of the season as the Blue Devils visit Virginia Tech – a place that Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team often loses. The Hokies should be short favorites on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Duke at Virginia Tech NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

Duke won both meetings last season. The one at Virginia Tech finished by a score of 77-63. Trey Jones, now in the NBA, scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half for Duke, which had lost three in a row in Cassell Coliseum. The Blue Devils used runs of 12-2 just after halftime and 12-3 a short time later to take command after trailing for almost the entire first half. The Hokies made 10 of their first 14 shots and led by 12 early.

Why Bet on Duke? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Due to schedule changes as a result of COVID-19 protocols, Duke has already had five games canceled or postponed a total of six times.

Duke (5-2) was a 79-68 home winner over Wake Forest on Saturday. Matthew Hurt scored a career-high 26 points to lead Duke in Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski’s return from a one-game absence due to COVID-19 protocols. Krzyzewski missed last Wednesday’s one-point win against Boston College. He had said previously that he and his wife were following quarantine protocols after a family member had tested positive for COVID-19, though Krzyzewski said both of them had tested negative.

Duke out-rebounded Wake Forest, 35-25, including a 15-8 edge on the offensive glass. Eight of the nine Blue Devils that played in the game recorded at least one rebound. Duke finished with 10 steals, its second consecutive game with double-digit steals. The Blue Devils have now connected on at least one three-pointer in 1,097 consecutive games, which is the second longest active streak in the nation.

Duke was without star freshman Jalen Johnson (foot) and backup big man Patrick Tape (back). It was the third consecutive game that Johnson had missed and second straight for Tape.

Hurt was 10-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-7 from three-point range. He entered the game as the ACC’s leading scorer at 18.5 points. Hurt’s previous career high was 25 points vs. Boston College (12/31/19).  Hurt also matched his career high with three steals. Duke is now 18-5 in Hurt’s career when he reaches double figures in points.

The watch list candidate for the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, Hurt has scored 17+ points in six consecutive games this season after having four such games last season. Two of his three career double-doubles have come in this season’s first seven games.

Freshman DJ Steward finished as Duke’s second-leading scorer with 21 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks while playing a career-high 39 minutes.

Why Bet on Virginia Tech? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Hokies (9-2) were 77-63 home winners vs. Notre Dame on Sunday. Tech held Notre Dame to just two field goals in the second half. The lockdown defensive performance came just four days after they allowed Louisville to shoot 50% in the second half of a 73-70 defeat.

“I just didn’t like how we played Wednesday,” Hokies coach Mike Young said. “I take absolutely nothing away from Louisville, but I didn’t think we were Virginia Tech on Wednesday. Didn’t think we were very good in the first half here, but we got some things together, and that was as good a half as we’ve had in quite some time.”

The Hokies trailed at halftime against the Irish by 7, 42-35. Virginia Tech came out firing in the second half, as they immediately opened the half on an 8-0 run and they never looked back from there. Virginia Tech ended up outscoring Notre Dame 42-21 in the second half.

Young gained his first victory against both the Irish and head coach Mike Brey and their series against each other is now 1-2. Jalen Cone was the leading scorer for the second game in a row with 18 points (career-high 23 points vs. Louisville).

Hunter Cattoor had 15 points for the Hokies, four rebounds and two steals. Aluma had 15 points and 12 rebounds, earning his second double-double of the season. Justyn Mutts had a near double-double with 14 points and seven rebounds. The Hokies proved to be strong again shooting 75% from the free-throw line.

Despite the victory, Nahiem Alleyne struggled to get going. Alleyne is third on the team in scoring, averaging 11.5 points per game but finished 0 of 6 from the field and he did not record a single point in the contest.

The Hokies had 41 total rebounds, 16 offensive, earning the record for most offensive rebounds in the Young era versus an ACC team and the second most since last year. The Hokies reached 19 offensive rebounds vs. Maryland Eastern Shore, Dec. 29, 2019. Tech held the Irish to only two field goals in the second half, which was the fewest allowed by Tech this season. The Hokies more than doubled the Irish in points off the bench (17), collecting 35 points.

Expert Prediction 
  • Virginia Tech 73, Duke 70

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