Duke knew its road to a potential No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament without winning the ACC regular-season title would be difficult.
Without Nolan Smith, it may well be impossible.
The fifth-ranked Blue Devils could be without their injured star point guard Saturday afternoon when they play Virginia Tech in the conference tournament semifinals at Greensboro, N.C.
Smith, the ACC's leading scorer at 21.6 points per game and the conference player of the year, hurt the second toe on his left foot on a non-contact play in the second half of Friday's 87-71 victory over Maryland. While coach Mike Krzyzewski is uncertain if Smith will play this game, the coach's greater concern appeared to be the availability of his senior for the NCAA tournament.
"We're going to try to make a long run, with or without him,'' Krzyzewski said. ''If he can't play (Saturday) - and I'm not saying he won't play, because I'll find out later - but if he can't, or we're risking something and we have to keep him out, we'll probably have until Friday if we go to Charlotte to get him with the right type of shoe and stuff like that.