Duke Blue Devils vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Well, the experiment continues for head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. He will face the Virginia Tech Hokies,
his second game without his star forward, Zion Williamson, on Tuesday night. Duke played well in their
last game against Syracuse, but to be honest, the Orange were probably a bit distracted by the recent
news of head coach, Jim Boeheim striking and killing a pedestrian while driving on the highway. I cannot
imagine how something that traumatic would affect someone in a position like this in which demands so
much focus and attention, yet, in the grand scheme of things, is somewhat trivial. Sports are an escape
from reality, but I don’t think even sports can bring you away from that sort of reality. At any rate, the Blue
Devils played well enough to win against the arguably distracted Syracuse Orange by a score of 75-65.
Duke comes into the game as a favorite on 3 ½.
Duke Trying Life Without Zion
This was the first complete game for the Blue Devils without Williamson, who has really taken over the
college landscape. He had previously dominated the ACC All-American ranks and looked poised to be the
one of the first names called in the NBA draft. That was, until he injured his knee against the rivalry game
with North Carolina. The Tar Heels put the Blue Devils to bed early in that game, as it seemed the wind
was quickly ripped from the sails as soon as Zion went down. After all, at the time of his injury, the
freshman was second in the ACC in scoring (21.6), third in rebounds (8.8) and lead the conference in field
goal percentage (.683) and steals (2.2). Maybe the team has it figured out, but I am still quite skeptical.
That’s a lot of missed productivity and energy.
Hokies Solid But not World Beaters
Luckily for Mike Krzyzewski, the Hokies aren’t exactly world beaters. They are currently fourth in the ACC.
They also won't likely see the same pressure they did against Syracuse. That game brought a record
setting NCAA crowd and the impact of two perennial powerhouse coaches and programs had to be
something weighing heavily on both sides, let alone the distractions on both sides. Still, no rest for the
wicked, Duke comes into every battle getting the absolute best from their opponent. They are the
premier, the staple, the team everyone wants to beat, and Virginia Tech, if their game is on point, is clearly
capable of doing just that. Their primary opposition is now RJ Barrett. With Williamson out of the
picture for now, stopping Barrett is the primary focus. If the Hokies can be successful in shutting him
down, they should be able to scrounge together enough offense to take care of business, but that is a big
if. Barrett is no slouch himself, finding himself in the driver’s seat for the Blue Devils, even if it is
temporary. He had a remarkable game against Syracuse. Barrett scored a game high 30 points to go
along with five rebounds and seven assists. Barrett's 30 included a part on huge baskets that keyed a
game winning run late in the second half to lead his team to a 12th conference win on the season.
Duke Stays Winning
This should be a great basketball game between two teams heading to the Big Dance. In the end though –
I’ll gamble on Coach K and take the Blue Devils to win by a score of 78 – 72.