CORAL GABLES FL - FEBRUARY 13: Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils talks to his teammates as they come back on court after a time out against the Miami Hurricanes on February 13 2011 at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables Florida. The Blue Devils defeated the Hurricanes 81-71. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Saturday's game in Cassell Coliseum between Virginia Tech and Duke got an extra layer of intrigue Monday when the Blue Devils were voted the new No. 1 team in the country in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll (Update: The Devils are also No. 1 in the AP poll).
Duke, the defending national champions, will be the fourth No. 1 team to play the Hokies in Cassell and the first since 2007 when Tech knocked off then-No. 1 North Carolina. Overall, the Hokies are 3-7 against top-ranked teams and 2-1 at Cassell Coliseum.
Saturday's game will also mark the first visit from ESPN's College GameDay for a basketball game at Virginia Tech. The show and that night's game will give Hokie fans the chance to show the nation how much they've embraced the basketball program and made Cassell a hostile environment for visiting teams.
As a part of College GameDay, State Farm will donate $1 to Virginia Tech's athletics department for every fan in attendance at that morning's show. So basically, if 12 fans show up, the department gets $12, if 8,012 show up, it gets $8,012. One fan in attendance will also get the chance to attempt a halfcourt shot to win $18,000.
The hype surrounding Duke and GameDay already made this the game Tech fans had circled as the biggest of the season. It's importance to the program and the Hokies' NCAA Tournament hopes is now amplified by Duke's new ranking.
Depending on who the Hokies draw in the ACC tournament, the Duke game could be Tech's last chance to add a marquee win to its NCAA Tournament resume.
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