Duke will open this year's Tournament with Virginia Tech after the Hokies survived a tough challenge from Clemson, 68-63.
Like a number of teams this year, the Hokies have minimal depth and played just seven players against Clemson.
People will instantly flash back to the game in Cameron as a precedent but that may not be relative: for whatever reason, Duke has been better on the road this year.
Virginia Tech lost at Florida State on a miracle buzzer beater but otherwise while they were frequently close (see Cameron), they didn't come through very much. They did win at Virginia, but that's somewhat like Duke-UNC and things happen in that rivalry too.
Still, there's just a 24 hour turnaround, and for a team with just seven players, that's cutting it close.
In Cameron, Cadarian Raines was 7-10 for 16 points, Dorenzo Hudson was 6-13 for 16 and Erick Green was 7-19 for (you guessed it) 16.
But in some respects, the key player all along was Dorian Finney-Smith. He scored just six points, but the guy has an absolute willingness to screen for anyone, and he's very good at it. He sprung a lot of teammates for open shots in that game. He also grabbed 12 boards.
But you should also consider this: Virginia Tech got just four threes in Cameron.
Raines, Hudson and Green all shot well against Clemson, combining for 17-29 for 58%.
Hudson is a very well-known force at this point and Green is on the NBA radar though he says he's coming back.
For whatever reason, and it may have to do with his thinness, Jarell Eddie has really fallen off offensively as the season has gone on and was just 1-7 against Clemson.
If Virgina Tech wins, they'll face either Miami or Florida State. FSU's defense can be absolutely withering and Miami has the Human Battering Ram in Reggie Johnson and as much depth as anyone in the conference.
If Duke wins, they'll get another game with a team that upset them in Cameron this season.
Duke will of course be playing without Ryan Kelly, who is expected to miss the weekend altogether with a sprained foot.
This opens up potential playing time for Josh Hairston, who has shown some nice flashes late in the season.
In fact, it's entirely possible that Hairston will prove crucial in the rematch and that his potential matchup with Smith, two Virginia kids stepping up in a big way, could determine the game.
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