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Jeff Eisenberg

Mazzulla's slap of the floor still rings in Duke's ears

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Two years after West Virginia upset Duke in the second round of the 2008 NCAA tournament, the memory of the Mountaineers' in-game taunts and post-game barbs remain fresh in the minds of the Blue Devils.

Joe Mazzulla knelt down and slapped the floor on defense during the second half in classic Duke style.

Cam Thoroughman responded, "Oh my God. Are you kidding?" when informed after the game that former Duke point guard Greg Paulus was one of the team's eight McDonald's All-Americans.

And Wellington Smith claimed beating Duke carried no extra significance because "it's just a name on the front of a jersey. It's not like they have Jason Williams or Carlos Boozer anymore."

"I definitely remember the game and you do remember parts of what people say," Duke guard Jon Scheyer Friday on the eve of Duke's Final Four rematch with West Virginia. "Of course we want to beat a team that knocked us out, you know, two years ago. Who wouldn't? That's our approach."

All five Duke starters played in the 2008 game and several key Mountaineers also return, but these are nonetheless two totally different teams. The bigger, tougher Blue Devils certainly won't be out-rebounded 45-19 again this time, while the more mature Mountaineers expressed nothing but respect for Duke on Friday and took responsibility for their actions from two years ago.

"You don't think you get a chance to play Duke that many times in your career," Mazzulla said. "They're obviously a team with such great history and tradition. You get caught up in the emotions. It was more a spur-of-the-moment type thing."

So would Mazzulla slap the floor again on Saturday?

Said a smiling Mazzulla, "Depends on how the game goes."

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