BLOG: Blow-by-blow account of Duke-West Virginia
(SI.com's resident bracket expert and college hoops guru Andy Glockner weighs in with his thoughts on Duke-West Virginia)
FINAL: Duke 78, WVU 57 -- What can you say? A thoroughly comprehensive performance from the Blue Devils, who did it inside and out and used their size advantage to great effect.
Thanks for following along and see you Monday night for an epic clash of contrasts: Duke vs Butler!
3:55, Duke 69 WVU 55 -- Nothing's changed. It's going to be Duke vs. Butler in the national title game. That sounds like something more likely to be found in the Maui Invitational, but it's true.
7:07, Duke 67 WVU 52 -- This one likely was over before Da'Sean Butler's painful-looking leg injury, but his removal from the game pretty much removes any doubt as WVU loses its only player who can create off the bounce. Duke's been the better team tonight, and shooting 10-for-19 from 3 certainly helped.
11:53, Duke 56 WVU 42 -- Weak technical foul for hanging on the rim, in my opinion. There were bodies everywhere around Singler. Anyway, let's see if that tosses WVU a lifeline. This game flow hasn't changed from heavily favoring Duke, and it's hard to see a way this will change. It's basically playing out as the numbers suggest, where Duke is just better than WVU at WVU's strengths.
15:44, Duke 46 West Virginia 38 -- The gameflow continues to favor Duke, even though the scoreline remains relatively close. The Blue Devils continue to get 3s and continues to get second-chance opportunies. West Virginia is going to need to find a way to do better on the glass, because the 'Eers don't have enough guys who can create off the dribble and Duke's size is preventing any type of post-ups from being effective.
Duke 39, WVU 31 -- The Mountaineers can't feel bad only being down eight at this point, because precious little went well for them until the half's final few minutes, when they found more offensive rhythm off the bounce and pushed Nolan Smith to the bench with three fouls. Duke's overall size is bothering WVU inside, and several offensive rebounds have led directly to open threes. The Blue Devils have made 7-of-14 from the arc; Kentucky shot 4-of-32 in the Elite Eight game. WVU has to -- has to! -- go directly at Smith early in the second half. Duke's offense is much more limited with him on the bench.
0:33, Duke 39 WVU 31 -- West Virginia is having more success off the dribble and getting to the rim, but the 'Eers still cannot stop any aspect of the Duke attack. They're switching everything and Duke is just picking out the midmatches and exploiting them. I don't know how effective the zone would be, but maybe mix it in more just to change the Blue Devils' rhythm. Nolan Smith just picked up two late fouls to be saddled with three going into the half, as WVU smartly went right at him.
4:20, Duke 37 WVU 24 -- Clark Kellogg summed things up a couple minutes ago: West Virginia isn't taking anything away from Duke. The Blue Devils are getting to the rim, getting offensive rebounds and getting wide-open 3s. This has to change quickly, or this is going to be over relatively quickly.
6:56, Duke 23 WVU 21 -- Feels like we have seen this game before ... like three hours ago, at least for the first 12 minutes. Both teams shooting more than 50 percent against statistically strong defenses. Can't see this being the tempo that WVU wants, though. They need to find a way to slow down Singler and Scheyer, both of whom are shooting very well so far.
11:03, Duke 18 WVU 11 -- Mountaineers having some trouble with Duke's offensive variety. Coach Bob Huggins is not happy at all with Da'Sean Butler for losing Kyle Singler on a screen and allowing an open 3. This game feels like it's being played at a higher pace, but the scoring is similar to the opener, which then bogged down significantly from this point on.
@mntaxi -- Why is WVA playing man against Duke? They are much more effective in the 1-3-1.
A: They may not be for much longer. Might be time to turn to the zone and see if that shakes up Duke's building offensive rhythm.
15:18 (first half), Duke 9 WVU 7 -- Good start to this one, with some aggressiveness offensively and big, active bodies getting to the glass. Duke shows why it hurts people with offensive rebounds, as Brian Zoubek collects a miss and immediately finds Jon Scheyer for a wide-open 3. So far, Duke has found plenty of good looks, even if a couple got swatted. Their overall size in the frontcourt may be an issue for WVU over 40 minutes.
A lot of folks are billing this second game as the de facto national championship, especially with cuddly underdog Butler waiting in the final. But first things first. Can West Virginia win the rebounding duel with surprisingly big and physical Duke? Will Devin Ebanks' defense be the force that disrupts the Blue Devils' attack? Are we due for some more Da'Sean Butler buzzer-beating magic? All of these questions, and more, will be answered in the next two hours. If you want your question featured in this live blog, hit me on Twitter at @aglock or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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