Virginia forward Lee Raker is expected to play tonight when the Cavaliers meet Duke at Durham (WJLA-TV, Channel 7) in a key Atlantic Coast Conference game at 9.

Raker pulled an abdominal muscle the last time Virginia played the Blue Devils and missed the last four games. A Virginia spokesman said Raker practiced yesterday and is expected to play tonight, although it was uncertain whether he would start.

Duke leads the ACC with a 6-1 record, followed by North Carolina's 5-2 and Virginia's 5-3. Other ACC teams are below .500.

Elsewhere, in games involving area teams tonight, American will host Baltimore University at 8 at Fort Myer; Catholic will face a streaking Wagner team at Brookland Gym at 8, and Howard will travel to Maryland-Eastern Shore for a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at 8.

Baltimore may be just the tonic AU needs to end a three-game streak in which the Eagles have allowed 303 points. The Bees, in the first year of Division I play, are 3-15.

AU is 11-10 and star forward Russell (Boo) Bowers is averaging 23 points a game. Since Stan Lamb flunked off the team five games ago, Bowers surprisingly is averaging fewer than one shot per game more. Leon Kearney, Lamb's roommate, has averaged 13 points a game in that period, despite a two-point job versus Georgetown.

Catholic, which broke a five-game losing streak Saturday night against Canisius, faces a Wagner team that has won nine straight and 13 of its last 14. The Seahawks' lone loss came against Iona, 82-78, Jan. 6. Wagner beat Alabama in its opening game, then lost four straight pior to its streak.

Freshman Mike Neville continues to play well for CU. In his last nine games, the 6-foot-8 Poolesville High product has averaged 17.2 points and shot 53 percent from the field, with only two layups.

Howard, which got a split in its two MEAC games in North Carloina last weekend, can start to build momentum for the league tournament. After tonight, the Bison will host North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T Friday and Saturday, respectively. Center Dorian Dent continues to play well for Howard, leading the MEAC with 14 rebounds per game.