Friday, April 2, 2010

Get-even time for Duke

INDIANAPOLIS -- Considering that there’s a strong institutional memory-bank within the Duke basketball program, the Blue Devils will be anxious today to show West Virginia’s players how much things have changed over a couple of years.

Late in the Mountaineers’ 73-67 second-round NCAA win over the Blue Devils in 2008 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., a few West Virginia players aggressively taunted Duke. The Blue Devils were called overrated and soft.

WVU guard Joe Mazzulla and forward Da’Sean Butler were among those who mocked Duke by slapping the floor. When the two teams play today in the Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium, that '08 humiliation won’t be left in the Duke locker room.

“I definitely remember the game, and you remember parts of what people say,” said Duke guard Jon Scheyer, who scored 15 points in 29 minutes as a sub. “So we want to beat a team that knocked us out. Who wouldn’t? That’s our approach.”

Aside from Butler and Mazzulla, current WVU starter Wellington Smith played frequently in ‘08. All five Duke starters played in the loss.

Historically, Mike Krzyzewski’s teams have found a way to get even, including a 1991 Final Four win in Indianapolis over Nevada-Las Vegas. In the 1990 championship game at Denver, the Runnin’ Rebels gave Duke a merciless 103-73 beating that ended with several UNLV players ridiculing the ACC’s reputation and making fun of Duke freshman playmaker Bobby Hurley, who was slowed by a much publicized stomach ailment.

In ‘91, the same two teams met in the semifinals. UNLV, ranked No. 1 nationally almost all season and undefeated, was a heavy favorite. Many experts were rating Jerry Tarkanian’s team among the all-time best, better than Indiana’s 1976 undefeated team.

Duke won 79-77, Hurley played the full 40 minutes, finishing with 12 points, seven assists and two steals, and Christian Laettner, in 40 minutes, got 28 points against super-stopper Stacey Augmon.

Minutes after the Duke celebration ended, Hurley said, “Guess What? My stomach’s not hurting at all now.”

Just a couple of weeks ago, Hurley phoned Krzyzewski to remind the guys that California ended the guard’s career during the second round of the 1993 tournament. In a second-round game at Jacksonville, Duke sent home the Bears, 68-53.

The punch, counter-punch ploy long has been a staple of Duke’s series against North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland in ACC play. Although West Virginia has been tough enough to win big games _ including Kentucky _ with playmaker Darryl Bryant sidelined by an injury, the Mountaineers know Duke will use ‘08 as motivation.

Slapping the floor and making remarks to Duke’s players was a “spur of the moment thing,” according to Mazzulla.

“You get caught up in the emotions. They’re obviously a great team with great tradition.”Asked if he might do the same thing if WVU gets ahead today, Mazzulla smiled and said, “Depends on how the game is going.”

Caulton Tudor, staff columnist


Anonymous said...

Will WVa get even by giving Kyle Singler titty twisters like he did last time they met?

Anonymous said...

Geez... UNC will be even worse next year since Drew will return. How sad. Ol Roy might have a coronary.

Anonymous #3 said...

You would think the people taunting Carolina would have learned not to, after having taunted them during the two years prior to '05 only to see UNC go on to win it all. Some of those same players who lost so badly became champions in '05. Then the players left to the NBA, and Carolina reloaded (like they're doing now), surpassing all expectations and (again) shutting up their critics during the following seasons.

This looks to be a similar situation, with a top wing scorer, a great passing point guard and the best player in high school coming to Chapel Hill next year.

Besides, no Carolina fan/player/coach would switch places with anyone. They're the reigning champions, with two championships in the past five years. That's all that matters.

Anonymous said...

Wellington Smith and Brian Zoubek faced off 2 years in a row (2004 and 2005) in the New Jersey Group 2 State finals. Both times Zoubek's Haddonfield team prevailed over Smith's Summit Hilltoppers.

Anonymous said...

I am Charlotte Simmons.

And I like to twist titties.

Anonymous #3 said...

Well, we all know New Jersey high school games predict Final Four outcomes.

Anonymous said...

UNC-CH's basketball program has died. That's a shame. Roy should retire and the Holes should bring back Matty D.

Anonymous said...

This is NOT the Carolina way. The is making me ANGRY!

Anonymous said...

K 4
Dean 2