Learning From The Past?

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has been busy watching tape of West Virginia's team, but his scrutiny won't extend, at least heavily, to WVU's win over the Blue Devils two years ago.

"I just started with one of their games and watched another one Monday," Krzyzewski said. "Both staffs will look at the game from two years ago, but there were some different players in that one, and the players that were in it are different, and better now. I hope Mazzulla isn't any better, but we will review it and try to recall some things. But for our team, it's not about that they beat us two years ago. This is about the Final Four and the teams the way they are now. We'll look at it to see if there are things they still do or that we did."

Krzyzewski's singling out of Mazzulla stems from the monster game the gritty guard turned in against the Blue Devils in the NCAA tournament in 2008. The 73-67 Mountaineer win featured 13 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists from Mazzulla – his best game ever until his star showing in the regional finals against Kentucky Saturday night.

"He had a phenomenal performance against us -- almost a triple double," Krzyzewski recalled. "They were good then and they are good now. Mazzulla is one of those really tough competitors He is going to fight you, and as a result of that his skill level isn't given enough credit. He is a good basketball player.

"One of the games I watched was the Kentucky game, and his drives were phenomenal They were really good basketball plays. The say he's not a scorer, but he scored well. They say he can't handle the ball, but they didn't take the ball away form him. I think he's a really good basketball player, and he will fight you for the full 40 minutes."

Other than Mazzulla's performance, Krzyzewski doesn't recall much from the loss two seasons ago.

I don't remember that game that much -- just that we got beat. We'll watch that game some, but we don't play until Saturday, so we have more time [to watch more recent tape]."

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Although Da'Sean Butler's performance in that game was a solid one (eight points, five rebounds), Krzyzewksi doesn't remember a great deal about his play that night. He does, however, know what the Mountaineers' senior leader is all about.

"I can tell you from watching him through this year that he is one of best players in the country. He's a great player and a clutch player. Nobody has hit as many big shots as this kid. Bob [Huggins] does a great job of positioning him and getting him the ball in the right spots."

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Krzyzewski shared some thoughts about the makeup of the Final Four.

"I didn't give much thought to how the Final Four would look, because in the tournament you have to focus on your next game. We're used to a two-day prep. But I don't think anyone in coaching is surprised when one team beats another one. There just isn't the difference that there was a decade ago. There's just a lot of good basketball teams right now. You can get beat by a lot of people."

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The Mountaineers and Blue Devils share some characteristics. Both are very good defensively and pound the backboards, especially on the offensive end. Krzyzewski also singled out another similarity.

"We are two teams that have gotten this far without shooting it well," he said, in spite of Duke's three-point barrage against Baylor. "It makes both of us understand that if we are going to win we have to play every possession on the defensive end and rebound. The motivation to play defense and rebound is the same. They are a little more athletic than we are. We are taller, but they use length well. And they practice is. Bob is one of the great coaches, and his kids do what they ask them to do, and they ask them to do a lot. They are a very unified team."

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