Duke Chokes on a Chicken Bone: ACC Title, No. 1 Seed Up in the Air

Mike KlineAnalyst IFebruary 26, 2011

Duke has a lot of work left to do to get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Duke has a lot of work left to do to get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Duke had a lot it could have accomplished Saturday night, the least of which was maintaining its No.1 ranking. They ended up losing potentially more that just that.

By losing another conference game, the Blue Devils allowed North Carolina to get right back in the ACC race.

It also will bring into question whether or not Duke is really deserving of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

As many had suggested, the Blue Devils weren't the best team in the country after they vaulted to that position after a week where every team ahead of them had lost.

Now, following the 64-60 loss at Virginia Tech, Duke is likely to have to win out the rest of the season including the ACC tournament to guarantee itself a shot at a No.1 seed in the tournament.

That isn't likely to come easy with a road game against arch rival North Carolina, who if they win their next two games, can win the ACC regular season title out right by beating Duke in the season finale.

The Blue Devils knew going into the game against Virginia Tech that the environment would be charged and the Hokies would be gunning for the upset.

Duke managed to play like the mature team you would think they are for most of the game and despite trailing at the half, seemed to gain control of the game midway through the second half.

With just over three minutes to play, the Blue Devils decided to forget everything that was working and do the complete opposite.

The Blue Devils' best players were settled for bad shots. Either a forced three pointer, a fade away attempt at a bank shot or  a couple missed dunks, Duke choked down the stretch and allowed Virginia Tech to come away with the victory.

Much like last year when a late season conference loss jeopardized Duke's shot at an out right ACC regular season title, this loss to Virginia Tech does the same thing.

The loss in and of itself isn't surprising. Virginia Tech is a good team that has had some set backs but certainly has enough talent to play with anyone at home.

They certainly got a big boost from how poorly Duke played down the stretch and they took advantage of that in every way.

From here, the Blue Devils will have to regroup and play its final home game of the season Wednesday night at Cameron before the season ending show down against North Carolina.

Anything less than 2-0 in those two game will likely mean an end to Duke's No. 1 seed hopes and potentially the loss of the ACC Regular season crown.