Both healthy, Duke and Virginia Tech look forward to rematch in Sweet 16

Big Tournament

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski talks with players during a timeout during the second half of the team’s second-round game against Central Florida in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. Duke won 77-76. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

WASHINGTON (WNCN) — The Atlantic Coast Conference will take center stage Friday night. Five of its teams made the Sweet 16, and two of them — Duke and Virginia Tech — will clash in Washington, D.C.

The Hokies are largely considered to be the underdogs going into Friday, despite having defeated the Blue Devils, 77-72, in Blacksburg, Virginia on Feb. 26. That’s because of one person: Zion Williamson. 

Williamson had injured his knee two games prior on Feb. 20 when his show exploded in the opening minute against North Carolina. He missed five games before returning in Duke’s ACC Tournament game against Syracuse.

The Hokies will also have a key piece that they didn’t have last time they met Duke. Senior guard Justin Robinson, who averages 13.4 points and a team-high five assists a game, missed that Feb. 26 win. He’s had 21 points off the bench in two games during the NCAA Tournament.

“My three out of four years here at Virginia Tech, we’ve beaten Duke, so I don’t think we’re excited for the moment,” Robinson said. “I think it’s just another game for us.”

So considering that Duke gets Williamson back and the Hokies will have Robinson, Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski thinks the game will be more similar than different to the regular-season encounter.

Tip-off Friday is scheduled for 9:39 p.m. ET.

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