Duke’s Zion Williamson, center, cheers after a basket from the bench. (Nick Lisi)
Duke’s Zion Williamson, center, cheers after a basket from the bench. (Nick Lisi)|Associated Press
NCAAB

Eckel picks between the Blue Devils & the Virginia Tech Hokies

Both teams will be playing without their star player

Mark Eckel

Duke (-3 1/2) at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.
The Pick: Duke (-3 1/2)

Both teams will be playing without their star player. Duke (24-3) is without phenom Zion Williamson for the second (really third) game and Virginia Tech (21-6) will be without Justin Robinson for the eighth game.

Duke bounced back from its loss to North Carolina and the loss of Zion to win at Syracuse last time out. The Hokies, a top 12 team at one point this season, is just 4-3 with Robinson out and desperately needs him back for tournament play.

The Blue Devils, in a three-way tie with UNC and Virginia atop the ACC, need this win and should find a way to get it. The road hasn’t been a bad place for Coach K and Co. Duke is 5-2 against the spread on the road this season where they are usually favored.

The Hokies, while 21-6 overall are just 14-13 against the spread overall and an even more troubling 6-7 against the spread at home. Tech has covered just once at home in six tries against ACC completion.

Take Duke, give the points and if you’re a Hokies fan hope Robinson comes back sooner than expected.

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