Duke basketball prepares for most important game of season

Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team is set for its most important game of the season thus far.

Tuesday night will mark the third ranked game for the Duke basketball team this season, but make no mistake about it, this one is the most important.

The No. 19 Blue Devils (5-2, 3-0 ACC) will make the dreaded trip to Blacksburg, Virginia to face the No. 20 Virginia Tech Hokies (9-2, 3-1 ACC).

Cassell Coliseum has been a house of horrors for Duke in previous years, despite the Blue Devils pulling out their first ACC victory of the season one year ago with a comeback win.

However, this year is different with the lack of fans, perhaps a benefit Mike Krzyzewski‘s team is going to need as the Hokies are poised to make a run at the ACC regular season crown.

Mike Young‘s team has already knocked off No. 3 Villanova and No. 24 Clemson with its losses coming in a 22-point blowout against Penn State and a two-point defeat on the road against Louisville.

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Virginia Tech’s most recent victory came at home against Notre Dame on Sunday evening.

Keve Aluma has been pacing the way with 15.5 points per game while Jalen Cone is posting 12.9 points per contest.

It’s likely that Duke’s two best defenders, Wendell Moore and Jordan Goldwire, will draw the assignment of defending the two standouts for Virginia Tech, but it will be no easy task to slow them, or the rest of the team, down.

The Hokies average 75.3 points per game and shoot 45.4-percent from the field, but their one fault seems to be 3-point shooting at 35.3-percent.

If the Blue Devils can force Virginia Tech to try and beat them from the perimeter, they could be in good position for their biggest victory of the season.

Duke basketball will play in its biggest game of the year

The Blue Devils have faced two Top-10 teams this season, No. 8 Michigan State and No. 6 Illinois.

Duke was stunned at the physicality of the Spartans and was flat-out beat against the Fighting Illini, but Tuesday night will be different.

Mike Krzyzewski had time to prepare his team for a matchup like this, even though it looks like the Blue Devils will be without Jalen Johnson.

It’s an ACC matchup with two teams that have aspirations of a top seed in Greensboro in March, and it’s the first true test for Duke since its loss to Illinois.

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The Blue Devils have not looked good in their most recent victories against Boston College and Wake Forest, but their best game of the season came in a road win over Notre Dame on December 16.

Is Duke loving life on the road this season because of no opposing fans? Are teams more confident coming into Cameron Indoor Stadium because of no Crazies?

Both questions have to be considered, but the result of Duke’s matchup with Virginia Tech will go a long way in answering questions about the young and inexperienced Blue Devils.

Tipoff is slated for 7:00pm EST (ACC Network).

PREDICTION: Duke 81, Virginia Tech 74

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