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Next Up - Texas

Next up for the Devils is Texas, and the Longhorns feature A.J. Abrams, who is probably the finest three point shooter in this tournament.  Defending Texas starts there, but it won't end there.

It's a good thing they're the second opponent this weekend (on tournament time, anyway), because, much like Wisconsin or Florida State, they're likely to leave a mark on you.

Their center is Dexter Pittman, who is 6-10 and 300 lbs.  One-time Duke target Gary Johnson is 6-6 and 233.  Look down the roster - you see 6-7, 241, 6-10, 241, 6-10, 228, 6-10, 235.

Basically if you're not a guard, you're huge.

Which is what we learned to expect from Rick Barnes at Clemson.

From the beginning, Barnes built teams with big, beefy guys. Remember the aptly named Tom Wideman?

For Barnes vs. Krzyzewski, the difference has always come down to bulk vs. speed.  We're sure he'd love to have a guy like Shaquille O' Neal, who had both as a young player, but Barnes leans towards power.  It's a stylistic and strategic choice.

He has recruited a lot of talent to Austin and a lot of it has left early, but Abrams and Pittman are complimented by 6-7 Damion James, who can score from just about anywhere.

In some ways, the most worrisome player might be Pittman, who dwarfs everyone on Duke's team except for Brian Zoubek, who is taller at 7-1 but lighter at 280.  He'll likely get a fair amount of time against Pittman.

However, despite having a lot of big guys, Barnes is, out of character, playing a smaller lineup. Against Minnesota, and we think this is probably the team he's used most, he went with Abrams, James, Pittman, 6-0 Dogus Balbay and 6-2 Justin Mason.   Johnson came off the bench for eight minutes, 6-10 Connor Atchley got 10, and Clint Chapman, also 6-10, got eight.  Most of the bench time went to Varez Ward, who played 26 minutes.

Barnes moved Balbay, a Turkish native, into the lineup after UT hit the doldrums, and the move paid off, with the Longhorns winning eight out of the last 12.

So while you might expect to see a classic Krzyzewski-Barnes matchup, it'll be quite different than past encounters. Stopping Abrams is obviously key, but it'll be pretty different after that.

Of course, it works both ways:  if Duke is hitting threes, Texas has a tougher road.  If they can't match up with Gerald Henderson, that's going to be difficult.  They also have to chase Kyle Singler around, and Jon Scheyer will be a good bit taller than the other guards.

And to top it off, Texas will get a lot of support from the UNC fans, as long as UNC advances (odds are they'll leave if their team is gone).

So a fascinating matchup. We'll see how it goes.

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