Duke Blue Devils at Virginia Tech Hokies (+12.5, 146.5)
Duke looks to rebound from a loss to Maryland when it visits Virginia Tech on Thursday. The No. 6 Blue Devils have lost three of their last 10 games and are a distant second in the Atlantic Coast Conference behind runaway leader Miami. The Blue Devils are playing back-to-back road games for just the second time all season. Virginia Tech has lost eight consecutive contests since defeating Wake Forest on Jan. 19.
The Hokies are experiencing a dismal season in James Johnson’s first season as coach. Virginia Tech is in last place in the 12-team conference. Duke’s loss to Maryland came in its fourth contest in 10 days and coach Mike Krzyzewski said afterwards that his squad was tired. “We’re playing on fumes and I think you could tell that,” Krzyzewski said. The Blue Devils had enough energy to force 26 turnovers but were dominated by a 40-20 margin on the boards. Coach K is tied with legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp for the third-most wins (876) at one school.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT DUKE (22-3 SU, 9-3 ACC, 13-12-0 ATS): Senior forward Mason Plumlee struggled against Maryland with a season-low four points and only three rebounds. It was the worst all-around game of the season for a player averaging 17.6 points and 10.4 rebounds. “There is so much pressure for Mason to play outstanding,” Krzyzewski said afterwards. “That wears on you as the season goes on.” Plumlee has 14 double-doubles this season and is 13 rebounds away from becoming the ninth player in Duke history to reach 1,000 career points and rebounds. Senior guard Seth Curry averages 16.9 points and has made a team-best 62 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Quinn Cook has four steals in each of the past two games and has a team-leading 44 to go with a 12.3 scoring average.
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (11-14 SU, 2-10 ACC, 10-10-2 ATS): Freshman forward Marshall Wood had 14 points and 16 rebounds against North Carolina State for his first career double-double. Wood’s big outing raised his season averages to 4.7 points and 4.3 rebounds and repeating his stellar game against Duke would rate as a huge accomplishment. Senior guard Erick Green leads the nation with a 25.3 average and had 29 points and eight assists against the Wolfpack. Green is adept at getting to the free-throw line and is making 6.9 free throws per game. Junior forward Jarell Eddie averages 13 points.
* Under is 7-1 in the last eight meetings.
* Blue Devils are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Virginia Tech.
* Road team is 8-3-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings.
1. Duke is 40-8 against Virginia Tech and is 11-3 against the Hokies during Krzyzewski’s tenure.
2. Curry has 12 20-point outings this season, including four of the past six games.
3. Green has scored 20 or more points in 23 of Virginia Tech’s 25 games.
California Golden Bears at Oregon Ducks (-5.5, 138)
Oregon looks to end a 10-game losing streak to California on Thursday when the 23rd-ranked Ducks host the Bears in a key Pac-12 matchup. Oregon leads the conference by one game over Arizona and UCLA and holds a two-game lead over Arizona State and surging California. The Bears have won five of their last six games behind the play of junior guard Allen Crabbe, who was named Pac-12 player of week for the second time in a row.
After losing three straight, the Ducks have bounced back with three consecutive wins, including a 79-77 overtime victory over Washington State on Saturday. Center Tony Woods was ejected in the first half for throwing a deliberate elbow to the back of Brock Motum’s head, but he will be available against the Bears. The 6-11 senior had 14 points and eight rebounds in the Ducks’ 58-54 loss to California on Feb. 2.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPNU.
ABOUT CALIFORNIA (16-9, 8-5 Pac-12, 9-13-1 ATS): Crabbe averaged 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in wins over UCLA and USC, but most everyone is talking about his altercation with coach Mike Montgomery during the Bears’ 76-68 win over the Trojans. Crabbe briefly left the game in the second half after being shoved by Montgomery, but the 66-year-old coach has apparently avoided a suspension. The incident has overshadowed the Bears’ recent surge, which includes wins over Oregon and Arizona. Junior forward Richard Solomon has scored 31 points over his last two games, and guard Justin Cobbs is averaging 14.8 points while shooting 85.5 percent from the foul line.
ABOUT NO. 23 OREGON (21-5, 10-3, 10-14 ATS): The Ducks have gradually adjusted to life without point guard Dominic Artis, who remains out indefinitely with a foot injury. Junior Johnathan Loyd has struggled to replace the talented freshman, but he had seven assists against Washington State. Senior forward E.J. Singler scored a season-high 24 points in the win, and he’s scored 20-plus points in two of his last three games. Forward Carlos Emory has averaged 15 points in the last two games, while Arsalan Kazemi ranks third in the Pac-12 with 9.6 rebounds per game. The Ducks lead the conference in rebounding margin at plus-7.8.
* Golden Bears are 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings in Oregon.
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Oregon.
* Golden Bears are 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings.
* Road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
1. Oregon, which is 15-1 at Matthew Knight Arena this season, had its 20-game home win streak snapped by Colorado on Feb. 7.
2. Solomon had 13 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes in the Bears’ win over Oregon earlier this month.
3. Singler became the winningest men’s basketball player in school history on Saturday with 82 career victories.