#19 Duke vs #20 Virginia Tech: NCAAB Pick, Schedule, Prediction (Jan 12)

The ACC has been ravaged by Covid-19 during this pandemic season of basketball. The women’s program at Duke has already cancelled their season, Coach K at Duke already is in quarantine from contact-tracing and Clemson basketball has had to postpone their next three games already.

Still, the season is moving along as #21 Duke will play just their third game in nearly a month traveling to Blacksburg to take on #19 Virginia Tech.

Duke vs Virginia Tech Schedule

  • Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Virginia
  • When: Tuesday, January 12, 7:00pm ET
  • How to Watch: TBC

Duke vs Virginia Tech Preview

Pandemic Throttling Duke Early

As I said before both Duke basketball programs as a whole have been struggling because of the pandemic. Coach K missed his first Duke game since most people have probably been alive and they have played just a total of six games so far this year.

Now I’m not sure if this is responsible for their poor record by Duke standards of just 4-2 to start the season, because this team has just looked average to start out. Their play has been good enough to beat out some of the lowly ACC teams like Notre Dame and a one-point win over Boston College but it is truly a question mark as to how it will hold up to a team like Virginia Tech.

Ncaa Basketball: Virginia Tech At Duke
Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

If they are to pull off this road win, Sophomore Forward Matthew Hurt will need to keep up his strong play. He is averaging 18 points for the Blue Devils but also leads them in rebounds and blocks not surprisingly. Trouble is, only three Duke players average double figures but the percentage from the field is not what troubles Blue Devil fans, it is their free throws. The team as a whole is shooting less than 70 percent from the charity strike, something that they cannot afford to do down the stretch of the season and might be the reason for their slow start.

Who Is This Va. Tech Team?

The Hokies put the basketball world on notice when they started just their third game of the season with a victory over #3 Villanova in overtime, but then lost to Penn State by 20 points three weeks later. Following this, they beat #23 Clemson by six points but then lost all momentum again with their latest loss this past Wednesday to Louisville.

Ncaa Basketball: North Carolina At Wofford
Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

So which team shows up for the Hokies on Tuesday? That depends on the play of Forward Keve Aluma. Like Duke’s Hurt, he not only leads the team in points but also rebounds and blocks and has a buzzer beater shot to his name already in the win over Miami. Long story short the ball is going his way when the team needs a spark or needs someone to win it for them.

Duke vs Virginia Tech Pick & Prediction

Both these teams have not really looked dominant in any of their conference wins so far this season. However I am going with the Hokies in this one. I like them on their home floor for one and Duke is still trying to get over their own covid issues to get back in their groove. Also, Duke’s two losses outside of conference play came against two teams from the Big Ten who have already proven to be overrated in Michigan State and Illinois and they also have not beaten anyone in the top 25. The Hokies have proven to be able to beat top ranked teams despite their ups and downs while Duke has not plain and simple.

Virginia Tech 77 — Duke 69

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