In most seasons, Duke vs Virginia would be one of the highlights of ACC Basketball. However, one of the teams hasn’t pulled its weight up to this point. The Blue Devils are just 9-8 overall on the season and currently 7-6 in league play. With five games to go, the traditional juggernaut of the ACC could have more than eight losses in conference play for the first time since the 1994-95 season.
That also was the last time the program finished under .500 for the entire season. They were in that range over a week ago, until two straight wins finally gave them some momentum. The latest came on Wednesday in an 84-60 road victory over Wake Forest, arguably their most complete success of the season. Matthew Hurt led all scorers with 22 points, while freshman guard DJ Steward chipped in with 16.
On the other side, Virginia (15-4, 11-2) is coming off an 81-60 defeat to the Florida State Seminoles on Monday night on the road. Four Cavaliers reach double figures, led by Trey Murphy with 13 points. However, the defense was a non-factor from the opening tip, giving up nearly 30 points in the first 11 minutes of the game.
The loss ended a four-game winning streak and put Virginia now in complete control in terms of winning the ACC regular-season championship. As for Duke, that has been out of the cards for a while. Instead, they’re looking to get back into the bubble picture for the NCAA Tournament.
There will be plenty of storylines in the lone regular-season matchup between these two programs, both from an on and off the court standpoint.