CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- The calendar tells it all for Duke, and the Blue Devils are right where they planned to be heading to the end of the season.
"It's March," DeMarcus Nelson said Wednesday night after the Blue Devils (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) overwhelmed Virginia with their depth in an 86-70 victory that set up this weekend's showdown with top-ranked North Carolina for the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship.
"We're playing for a conference championship and we're definitely excited about that," Nelson said. "Then we're going to the ACC tournament to play for a championship and then we're going for a regional championship and then a national championship."
For the Blue Devils, those are the goals and focus most every year, and they would be a meaningful addition to a season that has already been marked by a major milestone.
They got coach Mike Krzyzewski his 800th victory last Saturday and can get him his 17th ACC title by completing a sweep of the Tar Heels on Saturday night at Duke.
"That's something that we talked about in the summertime, the preseason, before the season started," said Nelson, one of five Duke players in double figures with 16 points. "That's everyone's goal."
Duke (26-3, 13-2) looked ready for the big stretch run against the weary Cavaliers, who were playing for the third time in five days and spent all game trying to rally.
The Blue Devils' answers were typical -- wide-open 3-pointers and killer putbacks.
"When you get offensive-rebound baskets, it gives you energy and knocks some energy out of the other team because you feel like you played good defense," Krzyzewski said.
Gerald Henderson scored 19 points for the Blue Devils, while Kyle Singler had 13 of his 18 in the second half, Greg Paulus scored 14 and Jon Scheyer had 10. The Blue Devils hit 12 3-pointers, shot almost 52 percent and had 18 second-chance points.
Duke made a rare switch to a zone defense in the first half, sparking a 19-5 run over the last 8½ minutes that gave it a 43-31 lead and control it never relinquished.
"We never could get over that hump, kind of like it's been all year where we make a run and we don't have the energy to get over that last hump," said Sean Singletary, who led Virginia with 18 points but was held scoreless the last 14:17 of the first half.
Virginia (14-14, 4-11) was 1-for-8 from the field with eight turnovers during the half-closing run, while Duke got 3-pointers from four players.
In the second half, the Blue Devils salted it away by pounding the ball inside. Singler had four of Duke's first five field goals in the second half, all from within a few feet, and the Blue Devils used a 10-2 run to open a 61-43 lead.
Virginia went on a 10-0 run to get within 66-57, but Singler had a putback and Nelson hit a 3-pointer and a putback to rebuild the lead to 73-59.
The Blue Devils, who beat North Carolina 89-78 in their first meeting on Feb. 6 at Chapel Hill, did it then with Tar Heels point guard Ty Lawson sidelined with a sprained left ankle. Lawson has returned and will play in the rematch at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
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