The Duke Blue Devils have risen to No. 6 in the national rankings and continue to inch closer to a No. 1 seed in the 2014 NCAA tournament. After defeating the Syracuse Orange on Saturday, Duke traveled to face the last place team in the Virginia Tech Hokies, fully aware of the threat the last place team in the ACC can face. Remember, Syracuse fell to Boston College just a few days earlier.
However, unlike Syracuse, Duke didn’t slow down when facing a weaker opponent. The Blue Devils looked focused against Virginia Tech and completely outplayed the Hokies. Rodney Hood scored 21 points and Jabari Parker had another double-double, while Trevor Thompson, who scored 15 points, was the only player for Virginia Tech who ever got going. Rasheed Sulaimon also chipped in for Duke, en route to a 66-48 trouncing of the Hokies by the Blue Devils.
At this point, 2.5 games behind the Virginia Cavaliers with just two games remaining, the ACC regular season title is out of Duke’s reach. However, in a conference with the upset potential of the ACC, a high seed in the conference tournament is essential to winning. The Blue Devils can’t slow down any time soon.
More importantly for Duke, a potential No. 1 seed in the 2014 NCAA tournament is on the line. Ranked No. 6, they still have a legitimate opportunity to get the seed if a team like the Florida Gators or Arizona Wildcats loses in their conference tournaments. Remember, most of the recent past winners of the SEC regular season title did not win the SEC tournament. If Duke could beat Syracuse again in the ACC tournament, a No. 1 seed in entirely possible.