Duke Blue Devils (31-5) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (26-8)
College Basketball: Friday, March 29, at 9:39 PM ET (Capital One Arena)
Spread: Duke -7.5 Over/Under: 144.5 Money: +280/-340
March Madness Picks Duke Blue Devils vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Some NCAA tournament action pins 1st ranked Duke against 4th ranked Virginia Tech. Duke barely made it past UCF in their last game and I am sure their momentum will carry into this game. Virginia Tech has been going through the tournament unfazed so far and will look to continue their great play against their biggest competition so far.
Duke is 31-5 on the season. Duke is led by three powerhouse freshman RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish. Barrett is Duke’s leading scorer averaging 22.8 PPG as well as 7.7 RPG. Williamson is Duke’s second-leading scorer averaging 22.5 PPG and 8.8 RPG. Reddish is the third leading scorer averaging 13.6 PPG. After these three freshmen, the scoring averages go into single digits. Duke relies heavily on Barrett and Williamson to do the bulk of the teams scoring.
Duke had the chance to play Virginia Tech one time during the regular season and it was a close game that ultimately ended in a Duke loss. The loss had to do with a couple of different things. The first thing was that Duke star Zion Williamson was out with a knee sprain. With Williamson out a huge offensive threat as well as rebounding threat gets taken away from Duke. This left the scoring up to Barrett and Reddish. The second thing was three-point shooting. Three-point shooting has been Duke’s number one weakness since the beginning of the year. In this particular game, Virginia Tech forced Duke to shoot 21 threes in which they made only seven.
The third thing was turnovers, Duke is a fast-paced offensive team and the speed they have as a team sometimes results in high turnovers. In this game against Virginia Tech, Duke had 12 turnovers to Virginia Tech’s six. In the match up this Friday it will be much different, Williamson will be back and that sparks not only Duke’s offense but their rebounding as well. Duke is a better offensive team than Virginia Tech with an average of 83.4 points per game to Virginia Tech’s 73.6 and they are a better rebounding team with an average of 41.5 per game to Virginia Tech’s 32.5.
Virginia Tech is 26-8 on the season. Virginia Tech is led by Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kerry Blackshear Jr. and Justin Robinson. Alexander-Walker is a sophomore guard leading the team in PPG with 16.4. Blackshear Jr. is a junior forward and the second leading scorer with 14.9 PPG, he is also their leading rebounder with 7.3 per game. Robinson is a senior guard averaging 13.4 PPG and leading the team with 5 APG. These are Virginia Tech’s top three leading scorers, but there is still one more player that averages double digits that Duke will need to worry about. Virginia Tech has elite scorers and at any time one of these players can take over the game.
The Hokies’ won their matchup against Duke during the regular season. In the game against Duke, they did what they do best and that was defend. Virginia Tech is one of the top defensive teams and they are ranked 9th in points allowed per game with an average 61.7. In their first matchup against Duke they used that defense to force Duke out of the lane and made them settle for threes. They also forced turnovers which were ultimately what won them the game. Virginia Tech will look to repeat this performance and advance in the tournament, but this time around they have to worry about Zion Williamson along with the other two Duke freshmen scorers.
Virginia Tech will have to do the same thing even with Williamson back. They will have to take away the driving lines and force Duke to beat them from the three-point line. Also, they will have to crash the boards hard every time because Duke now has their leading rebounder back. The Hokies’ will have to come into this matchup with confidence, they cannot be worried about Williamson being back they have to focus on their game plan and execute it to perfection.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
Duke Blue Devils
Duke is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Duke’s last 10 games
Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Virginia Tech’s last 10 games
March Madness Scores Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Duke Blue Devils
This should be a fun game to watch. Virginia Tech will come into this game with the utmost confidence knowing they have already bested Duke once before. Duke will also come into this match up with confidence knowing they have their leading rebounder and impact scorer back in the lineup. Virginia Tech will look to play high energy defense and force Duke into tough shots and turnovers, but I don’t think Virginia Tech can get the win. It was a close first match up during the regular season and Virginia Tech barely got past Duke without Williamson. With Williamson back, Duke has more offensive players for Virginia Tech to guard and I just don’t think Virginia Tech can stop Duke’s offense. I put my money on Duke to get the win, especially with the way Williamson is playing in the tournament so far.