Ball Durham previews the Blue Devils’ first ACC matchup with FanSided’s Virginia Tech expert JW Gravley at FightingGobbler.com.
The Blue Devils were picked as the preseason favorites to win the Atlantic Coast Conference, and they will kick off ACC play on the road against a tough Virginia Tech team this weekend. Check out our preview of the game with Virginia Tech’s FanSided site Fighting Gobbler.
1. VT received votes in the latest national polls. What has led to the turnaround in the Virginia Tech basketball program?
All-around team play has been the main turnaround for the Hokies this season. Buzz Williams has the kids focused and they have bought into his leadership. However, Virginia Tech still remains outside the Top 25 — I honestly believe they (the voters) are waiting out the storm, meaning they are going to see how the Hokies face against the top dogs in the conference such as Duke, UNC, and UVA. If they lose to Duke by one point or even five points, I see it being enough for the Hokies to get a push in the Top 25 but probably 25 is where they will sit at first. A win over UMBC wont mean much to the AP voters.
2. Who has been the most impressive player for the Hokies so far this season?
Zach LeDay – the kid can play any position at any time and usually comes off the bench. Another player Duke should keep an eye on is Chris Clarke who has been stealing the ball a lot as of late for the Hokies. LeDay though can be a mismatch for any squad, including Duke. His size and range is good and he has a high IQ and knows how to find a open man for a three or a easy layup when driving the inside the paint.
3. What is the team’s outlook for the conference season and can they advance to the NCAA Tournament in March?
The Hokies barely missed out on the NCAA Tournament last season but with their wins this season but if they finish .500 and/or right near it in the ACC, they should get enough push for the NCAA Tournament. They will of course have a tough ACC schedule and it starts in a couple of days when they face a really good Duke team in Blacksburg.
4. Finally, what’s your prediction for the game?
My score prediction is Duke 89 – VT 84.
The Blue Devils will be without junior guard Grayson Allen, who was suspended indefinitely by Coach K after another tripping incident in the team’s last game against Elon. Duke and Virginia Tech will face off tomorrow on New Year’s Eve at noon.