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Virginia Tech confident heading into Duke game

DURHAM, N.C. -- In recent weeks, Virginia Tech has been playing about as confident as it has all season. And the Hokies are feeling good heading into Sunday night's game at Duke.

"Right now, the way we’ve been playing, I kind of feel like we can compete with anybody," forward Jeff Allen said. "So it’s going be a good game.”

And the stakes are particularly high. Virginia Tech (21-4, 8-3) is second in the Atlantic Coast Conference behind the No. 6 Blue Devils (22-4, 10-2) and looking to cement a spot in the NCAA tournament.

“I know last year we kind of let them get us out of our offense,” Allen said of last season's 25-point loss at Duke. “Our shots weren’t falling so we went from taking good shots to bad shots, and that’s how the score got like that. This year, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t think we’re going to let them push us out of our offense. We’re a tougher team" than last year.

This season, Virginia Tech is 9-1 in games decided by fewer than 7 points or in overtime. They were 8-8 in such games last year. Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg has said a team has an opportunity to have a special season when it can win those close games.

So far, it has been a special season for the Hokies. They are coming off a win Tuesday over No. 23 Wake Forest. It represented their second win in four tries against teams ranked in the top 50 of the Rating Percentage Index. In order to make the NCAA tournament, the Hokies need more wins against teams in the RPI top 50 to overcome a nonconfernce schedule that ranks 341st nationally.

Virginia Tech would receive a huge boost in its goal of reaching the NCAA tournament with a win over Duke. The Blue Devils are ranked second in the current RPI. But Virginia Tech will enter its meeting with Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium with ample confidence as the players feel good about the team and its chances against the Blue Devils.

"It’s a big week," Hokies guard Dorenzo Hudson said. "We’re trying to get No. 1 in the ACC."

By Mark Viera  |  February 21, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
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