Duke vs. Virginia Tech Expert Pick and Prediction – January 29, 2024
DUKE VS. VIRGINIA TECH EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – January 29, 2024 — When the ACC invited Virginia Tech to join the league 20 years ago, the primary concern was football. Nobody expected the Hokies’ then-moribund basketball program to become much of anything, and certainly nobody expected Virginia Tech to become a thorn in the side of Duke on the hardwood.
But that’s exactly what happened, and it’s never stopped. Duke, to this day, has never really figured out how to win at Cassell Coliseum. The Blue Devils are just 13-10 all-time in Blacksburg, and they’ve lost five of their past six visits to Virginia Tech. Other than the annual visit to Chapel Hill, it’s reasonable to say this has become the Blue Devils’ toughest ACC road game.
Related: Angell’s Sports Analysis, Jan. 29
And this game’s coming at the wrong time for Duke, as Virginia Tech comes in hot and thinking it’s got a chance at the NCAA tournament. Duke’s looked a little shaky as of late, losing at home to Pittsburgh, barely escaping Clemson and looking less-than-stellar at Louisville.
With ACC opportunities few and far between this year, Virginia Tech isn’t going to get a better shot to pick up a Quad 1 win at home. If the Hokies have their eyes on an NCAA bid, this game is a must-win.
(15-4 SU, 9-10 ATS)
(13-7 SU, 9-10 ATS)
When: Monday, January 29 at 7 p.m. EST
Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va.
Public Bets: 83% on Virginia Tech
Public Money: 87% on Virginia Tech
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of January 28th, 2024.
Duke vs. Virginia Tech In-Season Trends
When this matchup takes place in Durham, it’s ugly for the Hokies. When it happens anywhere else, Virginia Tech’s been the stronger team. In the teams’ past eight meetings away from Durham, Virginia Tech is 7-1 ATS and 6-2 SU. The Hokies have won the past two meetings in Blacksburg, and they’ve usually been pretty action-oriented contests.
Out of the past six meetings at Cassell Coliseum, only one — a 64-63 Virginia Tech win in 2018 — saw the winning team fail to reach 70 points.
On the Duke side, the question is whether the defense has learned to travel or whether the Blue Devils have been facing bad teams. Pittsburgh and Notre Dame both failed to break 60 when Duke came to town, but the Blue Devils gave up 69 or more in their other three road games.
Duke’s also struggled badly away from home, going just 1-4 ATS. The only cover for the Blue Devils was their rout of Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has gone 5-1-1 ATS in its past seven in Blacksburg.
Hunter Cattoor needs to make an impact on this game. The Blue Devils have really struggled to stop the 3-point shot, and Cattoor is the best the Hokies have at stroking it from deep. He’s shot 50% or better from behind the arc in each of Virginia Tech’s past three wins, and if he’s hitting, the Hokies become much tougher to beat.
Kyle Filipowski has the potential to take over the game if he establishes himself down low. Virginia Tech is really weak on second-chance points, and if Filipowski has another double-digit showing on the boards, it’s hard to see how the Hokies hang with the Blue Devils.
I’m not completely sold on Duke this season. The Blue Devils seem like a flawed team that isn’t quite as good as its record shows, and the recent performances suggest that there’s still something wrong with the Blue Devils.
Does Virginia Tech’s weakness in the paint scare me? Absolutely. But the Hokies can shoot the 3-pointer well, and they have no fear of the Blue Devils when they play in Blacksburg. Plus, the Hokies know that if they lose here, the tournament is basically done unless they win at North Carolina.
Virginia Tech’s probably not winning at North Carolina, and it knows it. Expect the Hokies to put everything into trying to beat the Blue Devils at home.
Virginia Tech +3.5