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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 3, 2010

Duke vs. West Virginia

 •  Final four will 'D' up, keep scoring down
 •  Duke players know they're loved, loathed
 •  To some, this coach is lovable Huggy Bear

Advertiser Staff

GAME 2 40 min. after Game 1

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Duke has had a three-headed "S" monster leading the way all season, and Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer have kept it up during the tournament. Smith is averaging 18.5 points, including a career-high 29 points in the regional final. Scheyer, who is averaging 18.2 points and has an almost 3-to-1 assist-turnover ratio, is the man running the offense. Singler, who struggled against Baylor, going 0 of 10 from the field, averages 17.6 points.


The Blue Devils have one thing no other team in this Final Four has: a true center. Seven-foot-1 Brian Zoubek has become a force in the middle over the last 14 games, averaging 6.6 points and 10.1 rebounds in that span. He has been the reason Duke has outrebounded opponents by 8.3 over the last eight games and the 6.5 advantage over the season is the second-best in Krzyzewski's 30 seasons.



Da'Sean Butler is a lot more than a team-leading 17.4 points and 3.2 assists while grabbing 6.3 rebounds. The senior swingman has hit six game-winning shots this season including two in the Big East tournament, the second of which was a jumper with 4 seconds left in the championship game against Georgetown. No player has been a part of more wins that Butler's 107.


The Mountaineers were able to survive the loss of starting point guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant to a broken foot before the regional semifinals. Joe Mazzulla stepped in and did such a great job that he was chosen the Most Outstanding Player of the East Regional. Defense is the key for a Huggins team, and nothing was more impressive than the 1-3-1 zone holding Kentucky to 4-of-32 shooting from 3-point range.


Both teams play excellent defense and both are solid on the boards, although Duke is a bigger team. Bryant's absence could hurt West Virginia in the depth department. Even though Duke has been a regular in the Final Four over the years, none of the current players have been here.


As good as West Virginia's defense was against Kentucky, stopping a team with three perimeter players who can score is a whole other deal. Figure two of the "Ss" will come through in a 64-61 Duke victory.