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Next Up - St. John's

Duke comes into the St. John's game with back-to-back losses and a bit of depression and anxiety sniffing around. St. John's comes into Cameron with eight freshmen, one sophomore, and five upperclassmen who are pretty pumped up and probably sense some vulnerability.

The Johnnies most productive player is Anthony Mason Jr., who is putting up 13.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and 2.5 assists. His team isn't having a great season, but he's having a good individual season.

6-8 freshman Justin Burrell is off to a good start, with 11 ppg, and 6.4 rpg.

Eugene Lawrence, 6-1, is the sole senior in the lineup, and leads his team in assists with 3.4 per game.

The other starters have varied, and Mason has come off the bench in a sixth man role quite often.

It's been a tough year for St. John's - well, it's been a tough few years for the Johnnies: over the last few years, they've gone 16-15, 12-15, 9-18, and 6-21.

It's a sad era for one of college basketball's greatest programs. St. John's has long been the flagship program of New York City, and most years, the team is almost entirely from in-town. That's not as true this year: Sean Evans is from Philly, Paris Horne from Delaware, D.J. Kennedy from Pittsburgh, Larry Wright from Saginaw, Michigan, and Tomas Jasiulionis from Lithuania. Mason is from Memphis, although his father's career peaked as Knick, and he was a former teammate of coach Norm Roberts, which may explain why St. John's recruited a kid out of Memphis.

Hasn't helped a lot, although Roberts has worked hard to repair city contacts after predecessor Mike Jarvis didn't pay enough attention to city coaches and institutions.

Bit of an ACC connection: former Matt Doherty assistant Fred Quartlebaum is a Roberts assistant who is there presumably to help fix the links to the local folk. Quartlebaum recruited the core of what became UNC's 2005 national title team.

St. John's isn't shooting particularly well, at 40.7% and 32% from behind the line. From the line, they're hitting 67.4%.

They're also averaging 15.3 turnovers.

After a rough week for Duke, which saw the Devils lose a lot of ground with losses to Wake and Miami. Coach K said it was like someone else had inhabited his players bodies.

Duke wasn't attacking in either game and grew tentative. They've spent the week having one-on-one sessions with Coach K, which presumably should help.

Krzyzewski has a lot of gifts, but chief among them are that he's highly organized, intensely competitive, and as good a psychologist as you'll find anywhere.

There's probably no psychological therapy for Gerald Henderson's hand, but as far as everything else goes, you can bet your bottom dollar he's going to try to convince them to attack, attack, attack.

Normally, Duke schedules a late out-of-conference game to play against a team with a very different style to prep for the NCAAs.

This year, the game serves a dual purpose: to get ready for March, and also to offer Duke a chance gain back what they lost last week.

It's a game that normally could be lost with little consequence. This year that's not the case. It's taken on an importance no one could have guessed only 10 days ago.