Blue Devils face a long day

Tonight's late tipoff is hardly the first

Staff WritersMarch 26, 2009 

It might take Duke two days to play tonight's East Regional semifinal against Villanova in Boston.

With tipoff scheduled for no earlier than 9:57 p.m. and CBS' lengthy television timeouts, there's a good chance a winner won't be decided until after midnight.

The Blue Devils should be used to this. This is Duke's third game out of the past six that has started after 9 p.m.

"We have played a couple games like that already, and they were important games, in the ACC Tournament and the first round of the NCAA," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "You'd rather not play it. I'd rather play earlier. The fact that we've done it in the past two weeks twice, we should be accustomed to it."

Duke's ACC quarterfinal against Boston College ended at 11:40 p.m. The first-round NCAA game against Binghamton ended 10 minutes later than that.

This one will be the latest. And it's not like the day ends at the buzzer.

"It's tough to go to bed after those games," Duke forward Kyle Singler said.

To deal with the long day and late night, Duke will indulge in a longer shootaround this morning, less worried about wasting energy and more concerned about getting out of the hotel.

DUKE'S EXILED KING: Villanova coach Jay Wright envisions an important role for forward Taylor King with the Wildcats some day.

King, a transfer from Duke, won't play against his former team because he is sitting out one season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules. As a freshman last season for Duke, he averaged 5.5 points in 9.7 minutes per game.

"He's a tremendous competitor, outstanding shooter and he loves to play," Wright said. "He's in the gym all the time. Those kind of guys usually do pretty well for us."

King did not attend Wednesday's practice because of class obligations. But Wright expects King to catch a ride to Boston with a friend in time for the game.

MILLER TIME: Former N.C. State assistant coach Sean Miller, who coaches Xavier, meets his alma mater in today's 7:27 p.m. opener at the East Regional.

The 1992 Pittsburgh graduate is a member of the school's All-Centennial team, which honored its best players from 1905 to 2005.

"Pitt has [been] a special place for me," Miller said. "... Like so many former student-athletes, you look back at your experience and mine was amazing. Some of my strongest relationships, including my wife, stem from my time at Pitt, and several of my teammates will be at the game. What side they will be on, I don't know, until the tipoff."

Xavier has made improvement under Miller's guidance. After failing to make the NCAA Tournament in 2005, the Musketeers have reached the first round in 2006, the round of 16 the next year and the quarterfinals last year.

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