Friday, February 19, 2010

The Final Test of the Perfection Proclamation

(Note: Seth Curry Saves Duke! is expanding due to the economic rebound, and will now be posting several times a day. This is one such 'extra' post. The longer morning posts will still exist, and will now be labeled "Morning." You can find today's morning post below.)

Sunday night, 7:45: Duke vs. Virginia Tech, Cameron Indoor Stadium

This is it. On January 19th, I gathered my coterie of well-wishers, summoned the media, and proclaimed that Duke would not lose at home this year. Now, a month later, it's nearly come to pass.

We have three games remaining in Durham, but Sunday evening is the last real test. Virginia Tech, nobodies when the season began, have quietly started kicking ass and taking names. They've run up a 21-4 record, and would have their own perfection proclamation in good order had it not been for an early home loss to Temple. They've now won 5 in a row, taking down Clemson, UVA, and Wake, among others.

Don't get me wrong- this is not a great team. They've taken advantage of a down year for the ACC to shock a few opponents and vie for the conference title. They'll certainly earn an NCAA berth. But we're not dealing with worldbeaters. Still, confidence alone can make teams overachieve, and this game makes me nervous.

After Tech, our last two home games are against Tulsa and UNC. Tulsa will be a wipe-out, and there's not enough fight in UNC to come close to beating Duke at home. But the Hokies are a threat. Make no mistake. Malcolm Delaney will be first team all-ACC, and is averaging 20.2 per game, tops in the conference. He's the only star, but everyone contributes.

Unfortunately for them, their biggest productive man is 6'7". They're 9th in the conference in rebounding. Their team defense is second best in the league, but they're at the bottom of the pack in scoring. They shouldn't- repeat, shouldn't- have enough to hang with us.

I'm calling 82-64. Delaney gets 17, none of it easy. Nolan gets 24. And the perfection proclamation rolls on. Woo-ha.

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