Preview: 8 George Washington (27-2)

After a sluggish performance in the opening round against Southern, the Blue Devils will look to advance to a 9th straight Sweet 16 with a victory over George Washington. The Colonials enter the game after rallying to escape UNC-Wilmington by three in overtime.


1 Duke (31-3) vs. George Washington (27-2)
Greensboro, N.C. – Greensboro Coliseum
1:00 p.m., CBS

Program Vitals
Conference: Atlantic 10
Nickname: Colonials
Colors: Blue, Yellow, & White
Head Coach: Karl Hobbs  (5th year)
Career Record at Southern: 91-55 (91-55 Overall)

Projected Starters:
33 Maurice Rice (6-1, 215, So.) – 12.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.9 apg
25 Carl Elliot (6-4, 220, Jr.) – 11.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.0 apg
 2 Danilo Pinnock (6-5, 207, Jr.) – 14.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg
 3 Mike Hall (6-8, 230, Sr.) – 10.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg
21 Pops Mensah-Bonsu (6-9, 240, Sr.) – 13.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.8 bpg

Key Reserves:
 1 Omar Williams (6-9, 190, Sr.) – 7.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg
23 Regis Koundjia (6-8, 218 So.) – 5.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg
 4 Montrell McDonald (6-1, 185, Sr.) – 4.4 ppg

Storylines:

The Series: Duke and George Washington have split equally the 26 games in the series history but the two have played just one game since 1956, a 103-73 win on Dec. 6, 1994, in Durham, N.C.

Duke and George Washington have faced each other twice in the post season. On March 6, 1943, in the Southern Conference Tournament, Duke lost 56-40 in Raleigh, N.C., behind 13 points from Cedric Loftus. On March 4, 1948, Carl Sapp paced Duke with 14 points in a 54-51 win in Durham, N.C., again in the Southern Conference Tournament.

Surviving A Heart Stopper: A little over halfway through their opening round game with UNC-Wilmington it seemed as though the Colonials' season had only a few minutes remaining. After all the Seahawks were up by 18 with just over 11 minutes left. However a 19-0 run by George Washington eventually forced the game into overtime where late free throws and some miscues by Wilmington would send Karl Hobbs' team into the second round to face the top seeded Blue Devils.

There was no such drama for top ranked Duke, who easily defeated Southern 70-54 in the final game of the night on Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum. While the game was certainly never in doubt, the Devils were sluggish against Southern.

Pops The Tops: The Colonials have a tremendous perimeter and wing attack, but to compete with the big boys who share similar a similar national ranking range, senior big man Pops Mensah-Bonsu has to play well. Averaging over 13 points and seven rebounds on the season, Mensah-Bonsu is one of the nation's more athletic big men who excels at getting off the floor quickly to block and alter a high number of shots per game. Unfortunately he injured his knee against LaSalle in late February and underwent surgery, which has limited some of that natural athletic ability.

A House of Cards?: Though they rose to the lofty perch of the number six national ranking with an incredible 26-2 overall record, the NCAA selection committee was not impressed with the Colonials' strength of schedule. It was hard to be as George Washington played just two ranked teams all season, both from the ACC. In their first game against No. 17 Maryland, the Colonials earned a 78-70 victory. The only other game against a ranked opponent came against No. 18 NC State, who summarily thumped GW by 21.

To Win: The Colonials are just the kind of team that has given this group of Blue Devils fits throughout the season. They are quick on the perimeter, they attack the basket, and they do it with tremendous speed. It's also tough to defend them as the Colonials have five players who score eight or more points on average. If the perimeter game is clicking, and Mensah-Bonsu plays to his potential, this is a very dangerous opponent for Duke.

Duke Notes:
courtesy of Duke Sports Information

- Duke is 84-26 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, 67-18 under coach Mike Krzyzewski and has reached at least the Sweet 16 in eight straight seasons. Duke is 8-0 at the Greensboro Coliseum in the NCAA Tournament. Duke is a No. 1 seed for a record 10th time and owns a 34-7 record as a top seed.

- Duke has enjoyed the confines of nearby Greensboro Coliseum, posting a 54-29 record at the 47-year old facility. The Blue Devils have won six ACC titles (1978, 1980,1986, 1988, 2003 & 2006) at the venue and have a 30-15 ACC Tournament mark there. In NCAA Tournament action, Duke is 9-0 at the coliseum with its 1992 and 2001 title runs beginning in Greensboro.

- With his 29 point performance in the opening round against Southern, J.J. Redick recorded his Duke record 69th career 20 point game and his 27th this season. The 27 games this season is the second most in Duke history behind Dick Groat's 28 such games in 1951. Redick has hit the 20 point plateau in four straight games and 21 of the last 23 games this season.

Redick now has 933 points this season, setting the season scoring mark at the ACC Tournament last weekend. Redick moved from fourth to second on the ACC season scoring chart passing South Carolina's Grady Wallace (906) and Wake Forest's Len Chappell (932). The record is held by Georgia Tech's Dennis Scott with 970.

- Shelden Williams scored 29 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, both marks just one off his career highs. He shot 12-of-17 from the field and 5-of-8 from the free throw line while adding four blocks and one steal in 36 minutes.

Williams now has 1,235 career rebounds and continues to rank second at Duke and seventh in ACC history. Williams is just eight rebounds away from the Duke career record held by Mike Gminski (1,242). Gminski is also sixth on the ACC career chart.

Williams now has 57 career double-doubles and 19 this season and seven in the last nine games. His 57 career double-doubles is third at Duke, just one behind Randy Denton and second place with 58.

- The winner of this game will move on to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of LSU and Texas A&M.


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