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YouTube Gold: Duke-West Virginia In 2010

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West Virginia vs. Duke
Deniz Kilicli of West Virginia (42), left, and Da’Sean Butler of West Virginia (1), center, along with Kyle Singler of Duke (12) and Jon Scheyer of Duke (30), right, go after the ball during the second half in an NCAA Final Four semifinal game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, Saturday, April 3, 2010.
Photo by Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images

Some Duke game, inevitably, are linked with others. Take for instance the 1990 and 1991 UNLV games. Consider also the three games against Michigan’s Fab Five, all three of which Duke won. Arguably you could take every game Duke played against Kentucky since the Laettner Game and tie them together.

So it is with the 2008 and 2010 West Virginia games.

In 2008, West Virginia was far more rugged than was Duke. The Blue Devils had a nice core but it was young and it took a beating. Worse, the Mountaineers, particularly Joe Mazzulla, clearly enjoyed taunting the Blue Devils.

In 2010, things were very different. Duke was much more mature. Brian Zoubek had taken over at center and behind him were Mason and Miles Plumlee. Kyle Singler had developed into a remarkably versatile and tough leader. Lance Thomas had matured physically and emotionally and had become a formidable presence for Duke although not statistically. Nolan Smith had become an outstanding scorer and defender and Jon Scheyer, though not a typical point guard, played nearly mistake-free basketball and was a superb lead guard for this group.

Duke was ready, in other words, to return the favor and give West Virginia a tough, rugged game that the Mountaineers wouldn’t soon forget.

Although it didn't seem this close at the time, in 2008, West Virginia won 73-67. In 2010, Duke won 78-57 and dominated West Virginia.

This time it was the Mountaineers who got shoved around. They weren't able to keep up with Duke’s physicality: the Blue Devils left them black and blue.

You couldn’t help but think that there was some element of payback, that the older and vastly tougher Duke team was determined to hammer the Mountaineers even harder than the Mountaineers had hammered them in 2008. And they clearly had not forgotten Mazzulla’s arrogance.

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