Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Virginia Tech looks to top #7 Duke, win first ACC tourney title

Seventh-seeded Virginia Tech enters the championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament against top-seeded in an unusual mindset.

While the Hokies (22-12) aren't sure if they've locked up an NCAA Tournament berth, they do know this: With a win Saturday night over the seventh-ranked Blue Devils (28-5), they would be ACC tournament champions for the first time and their place in the NCAA would be assured.

This is uncharted territory for Tech. The Hokies are in the ACC final for the first time since they joined the league in 2004-05.

“I've got a very good basketball team,” Tech coach Mike Young said. “We had some struggles early in the year, but we're playing pretty good basketball now at the right time.”

This, of course, is business as usual for Duke, which has won more ACC tournaments (21) than any school in the conference, including 15 under retiring Mike Krzyzewski, who will coach his final ACC game on Saturday night.

After Duke's 80-76 semifinal win over Miami on Friday, Krzyzewski tried to shift the spotlight to his players.

“I'm trying to get away from all that. It's really too much,” the longtime coach said of the attention he's received. “I've had it numerous times. It's all theirs, and I'm going to try to do my best to help them in their season.”

Duke had to play well on Friday to advance. AJ Griffin (21 points, seven rebounds) and Paolo Banchero (18 points, 11 rebounds) made a combined 15 of 22 shots from the floor.

Then, down the stretch, Wendell Moore Jr. emerged. In the final six minutes, he scored eight of his 17 points. When the Blue Devils were wavering after Miami took the lead, 62-61, with 6:10 left, Moore answered with a defining sequence.

First he made a jumper. Then, at the other end, he blocked a shot, collected the loose ball and took it for a fast-break layup and a 65-62 lead. Then in the final minute, Moore made 4 of 4 free throws to help the Blue Devils ice it.

“A couple weeks ago, I said I wish they would be smarter,” Krzyzewski said. “The last two games they've been very smart.”

Duke will run into a red-hot Tech squad that is coming off tournament wins over Clemson on Wednesday, second-seeded Notre Dame on Thursday and third-seeded North Carolina on Friday.

The Hokies' emerging star, Darius Maddox, who made a 3-pointer at the buzzer of overtime in Tech's opening-round win over Clemson, scored a career-high 20 points in a 72-59 win against UNC, making 4 of 5 shots from beyond the arc.

Defense paved the way for Tech as it held formidable UNC to 36.7 percent shooting from the floor. The Tar Heels made just 3 of 26 (11.5 percent) from beyond the arc.

“That's been drilled into us,” Tech's Keve Aluma said. “If we can guard them and keep them at a low score then, the offense comes easier and everything starts to click.”

Duke won the lone meeting between the teams this year, 76-65 on Dec. 22. Tech had an eight-point lead in the second half before going cold from the perimeter. After the break, the Hokies made just 1 of 9 shots from distance.

Aluma had 25 points and 10 rebounds while Banchero scored 23 points to lead the Blue Devils.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

PlayAction Podcast

PlayAction Pods

PlayAction Pods

@TheColbyD from The College Basketball Experience to give out their first four picks aka college basketball best bets for Tuesday, March 14th, 2023, and...

PlayAction Pods

The Golf Gambling Podcast gives out their favorite picks and predictions for the 2023 Genesis Invitational


Geoff Fienberg & Andy Lack are back to give their PGA Tour picks and Golf Bets for the 2023 Genesis Invitational!


Who will be named Super Bowl MVP? Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes are favorites for a reason.

PlayAction Pods

The SGPN guys continue their 57 prop bets for Super Bowl 57 with prop bets for the Kansas City Chiefs

PlayAction Pods

The SGPN guys continue their 57 prop bets for Super Bowl 57 with prop bets for the Philadelphia Eagles.

PlayAction Pods

From coin toss to national anthem to halftime to Gatorade color and more, the SGPN got you covered