Duke's rematch with fifth-ranked Miami on Saturday was already a big game, one that was supposed to give the third-ranked Blue Devils the chance to avenge an ugly loss and close the gap in the Atlantic Coast Conference race.
It's even bigger now for a team that needs to regain some swagger after a tough three-week stretch that has seen the ACC regular-season title all but slip away after Thursday's loss at Virginia.
In recent weeks, Duke (24-4, 11-4 ACC) had tough wins against Boston College and North Carolina, and lost on the road to Maryland and Virginia. The loss to the Cavaliers gave the Hurricanes (23-4, 14-1) a share of the regular-season title, and Miami will win it outright as long as it doesn't lose its last three games.
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Thumbnail 2017 NCAA Title Odds Villanova always understood the myriad challenges of defending a national title. Yet the program definitely couldn’t have foreseen Friday’s bit of bad news.
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