Two weeks ago, a last-second three-pointer gave Virginia an upset win over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. A win over the Blue Devils in tonight’s rematch in Charlottesville will give their hopes of continuing their NCAA Tournament streak renewed life.
The Cavaliers have played in the past seven editions of the NCAA Tournament and won the national championship in 2019. During that time, they have won the ACC tournament twice and the regular season title five times, including last season.
This season, however, Virginia is all but out of the running for the ACC title and is on the outside looking in of the March Madness picture.
A win over Duke will only do so much to change that, but the Cavaliers will kiss any at-large hopes goodbye if they fail to hold serve at home against ACC’s first-place team.
Duke, meanwhile, is looking to win its first ACC regular season title since 2010 in Coach K’s final season. Can they move one step closer to that achievement tonight?
Duke Blue Devils vs. Virginia Cavaliers College Basketball Matchup Info and Betting Odds
- Game Matchup: #7 AP/#6 CP Duke Blue Devils (23-4, 13-3 ACC, 1st in the ACC) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (17-10, 11-6 ACC, t-5th in the ACC)
- Venue & Location: John Paul Jones Arena (Charlottesville, Virginia)
- Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2022
- Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Spread: Duke -5.5 (-110), Virginia +5.5 (-110)
- Total: OVER 130.5 (-110), UNDER 130.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Duke -225, Virginia +180
Odds are via BetMGM.
Can Duke Continue Strong Road Run in ACC Play?
While Virginia might need to count on winning the ACC Tournament to make the March Madness field, Duke’s biggest concern when it comes to the NCAA Tournament is where they will be seeded.
With the weak state of the ACC this season, Duke’s robust conference record doesn’t count for enough. Nor do their November wins over top-seed hopefuls Kentucky and Gonzaga, when much of the rest of their non-conference schedule was meh, at best.
As it stands, the Blue Devils are straddling the lowest #2 seed/highest #3 seed line. In the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s latest top 16 reveal, which occurred this past Saturday, the Blue Devils were eighth, behind Baylor, Kentucky, and Purdue and ahead of Villanova, Texas Tech, Tennessee, and Illinois.
Duke’s quest to solidify a top-two seed starts tonight at Virginia, the first of three consecutive road games that they have before their regular season finale against archrival North Carolina.
Remaining Regular Season Schedule for the Duke Blue Devils
- Virginia (away)
- Syracuse (away)
- Pittsburgh (away)
- North Carolina (home)
Notre Dame (19-8, 12-4 ACC) is a game behind Duke in the ACC standings, with Miami (20-8, 12-5 ACC) and North Carolina (20-8, 12-5 ACC) both two games back. Thanks to a 57-43 win at Notre Dame in their only regular season matchup, the Blue Devils have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Fighting Irish. So, there is a little margin for error when it comes to the ACC regular season title.
However, with March Madness seeds in mind, they can ill-afford to drop any of these final four games over the next week and a half.
Weak ACC or not, visits to John Paul Jones Arena and the Carrier Dome are not easy trips. But Duke has been a better team on the road than in Durham, where they have conference losses to Miami and Virginia this season.
Road Results for Duke in ACC Action
- Wake Forest: won 76-64
- Florida State: lost 79-78 (OT)
- Louisville: won 74-65
- Notre Dame: won 57-43
- North Carolina: won 87-67
- Clemson: won 82-64
- Boston College: won 72-61
It remains to be seen if this Duke team can send Coach K off into the sunset with a sixth national championship. But when everything is clicking, the Blue Devils are a formidable team.
In the previous meeting against Virginia, everything did not click. For the season, Duke averages only 10.7 turnovers per game. But against Virginia, they committed 15 turnovers. In all three of their ACC losses, they have turned the ball over 15+ times, while the only time they have done so in a conference win was a 20-point home win over Syracuse.
Freshman phenom Paolo Banchero scored a season-low nine points against the Cavaliers, while fellow freshmen A.J. Griffin (1-7 FG, four points) and Trevor Keels (3-11 FG) both struggled. So did Wendell Moore, Jr., who was 3 of 8 from the field with just nine points.
The only key player to shoot above 50 percent from the field was big man Mark Williams, who scored 16 points but had four fouls and was limited to only 19 minutes.
Williams (10.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.9 blocks per game) also had four fouls in Duke’s non-conference loss to Ohio State, in which the Blue Devils led by 11 with seven minutes left but managed only four points down the stretch. If it is a close game tonight in Charlottesville, Duke will need the seven-footer on the floor in key moments.
Duke vs. Virginia Prediction and Pick
Duke 67, Virginia 61 (Duke -5.5 & UNDER 130.5)
Virginia is hitting its stride at the right time, winning six of its last seven games and four in a row at home.
But even with a young team–Moore is the only upperclassman playing significant minutes–Duke has shown up most days in ACC play and this season. 11 of their 13 ACC wins, including all six road wins, have been by at least nine points.
While Virginia has developed into one of the top programs in college basketball under Tony Bennett, the Blue Devils have had the upper hand over the Cavaliers in Bennett’s tenure. He is only 5-12 against Duke, with only two wins in seven games in Charlottesville.
Look for Duke to take some valuable lessons from the previous matchup against Virginia and come away with a valuable road win tonight.