While it does not have the same punch that it once did, the Duke Blue Devils will look to keep pace atop the ACC standings when they take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Tuesday night.
The Blue Devils got a tougher-than-expected test against Virginia Tech at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday. They were able to prevail in overtime and will try to build more positive momentum heading into their showdown with North Carolina this weekend.
The Demon Deacons have played better of late, winning two of their last three games, but considering they lost nine of 10 before that, it doesn't mean much. They have to win their final two games just to finish the season at .500.
Who Is The Best Team In The ACC?
Where: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum
When: Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 9:00 p.m. EDT
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
Betting Line: Duke (-13) according to Vegas Insider
What's at Stake?
The Blue Devils are fighting with (who else) North Carolina for the ACC regular-season championship. Those two have the same conference record as this week begins, and they still have one game against each other.
They are also in a position to secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament if things break right for them over the next two weeks.
Wake Forest is just battling for pride right now. The Demon Deacons are going to need a miraculous run in the conference tournament to try to get in, and you will forgive me if I don't expect it to happen.
What They Are Saying
Following their close call against Virginia Tech on Saturday, the Blue Devils looked like they ran out of gas and had nothing left. They were able to persevere and win the game, but this could be a sign of late-season fatigue.
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the win that he understands the grind of a college basketball season and is proud of the resolve his team showed late in the game. It could lead to bigger and better things.
The really good teams that we've had here—and we've had a lot of them—there's players on those teams who will fight whether they're fresh, medium or completely exhausted. If you have a team of them, you might win a national championship.
The Blue Devils have really come together as a team, especially since that victory over North Carolina earlier this month. They are well on their way to securing a No. 1 seed in the tournament if they can take care of business over the next 11 days.
Most Important Player To Watch: Duke PG Austin Rivers
While Rivers is still evolving as a shooter, he has been better than advertised for the Blue Devils this season. His signature moment was against North Carolina earlier this month, but that is far from the only thing he has done.
His biggest test will come in the tournament. With Wake Forest serving as a tuneup for what is to come, expect big things from the super frosh in this game.
Key Matchup: Wake Forest Shooters vs. Duke Defense
While it would be easier to ask the Demon Deacons to stop Duke from scoring, the fact of the matter is they have been so abysmal shooting the ball this season that just stopping the Blue Devils won't be good enough.
C.J. Harris is the star of the show for this team, and he'll have to play the game of his life in order to keep them in the game long enough to have a chance.
Duke will have no problems going on the road and taking care of business.
Duke 75, Wake Forest 60