Thursday, April 1, 2010

Duke's players talk WVU

Brian Zoubek is expecting West Virginia's offense to try to make him uncomfortable, Nolan Smith is ready for the Mountaineers' zone defense and Lance Thomas is waxing philosophical on what it's like to be the only No. 1 seed remaining in the NCAA tournament.

Here's what Duke's players had to say during Thursday's media session in Indianapolis as they prepare for Saturday's NCAA semifinal game against West Virginia:

Zoubek on West Virginia: "I would say they are a little bit like Baylor. They have a lot of athletic, interchangeable players. And obviously, I know they're going to try to spread it out, and try to take me outside of the lane, so I can't protect the basket as much."

Kyle Singler on the Mountaineers' size: "They're not a very big team, but overall they've got a lot of guys that are 6-8 or 6-7. So across the board they are a tall team. We have to be smart. We have to pass the ball and take good shots. That's been our motto all year. It doesn't matter what shot you take, just as long as it's a good shot. With their zone, they will try to use their length against us."

Nolan Smith on West Virginia's zone: "So far this year we haven't really played against a 1-3-1. The last time guys on this team have done it was against Michgian when they extended the 1-3-1 and attacked the ball. So we've done a good job of preparing [against] the 1-3-1 in practice and it's all about attacking it. Baylor played a really aggressive zone and I was able to get into the middle of it, so I'm going to look to do the same thing. As a team we just need to attack it."

Lance Thomas on the pressure of being a No. 1 seed: "We definitely had a target on our back. Not only in the NCAA tournametn but in the regular season and the ACC tournament, too. Because we have Duke in front of our jerseys, other teams wanted to take our heads off, and they got up to play us game after game. A lot of the games later in the season were really close games, teams we had beaten by a bigger margin earlier in the season. That mentally prepared us for the conference and the NCAA tournament, having the mental toughness down the stretch to pull out the close games."

Ken Tysiac