NCAA Tournament: Texas coach looks to beat old nemesis
GREENSBORO ó It feels like old times again for Rick Barnes. He’s prowling the sideline at the Greensboro Coliseum, matching wits with Mike Krzyzewski and trying to figure out how to slow Duke.
The North Carolina native wants to cap his return to Atlantic Coast Conference country by leading his Texas team into some familiar territory, too.
If his seventh-seeded Longhorns are to reach the round of 16 for the sixth time in eight years, they’ll need to knock off one of Barnes’ old nemeses, the No. 2 seed Blue Devils, in the second roundl.
Barnes, who grew up a 90-minute drive away in Hickory, went 4-5 against Duke in four seasons at Clemson and a quarter-century ago interviewed for a job on Coach K’s staff. He hopes that familiarity with the Blue Devils can somehow translate to the court Saturday night.
“There are some staples in their program that they do ó I mean, obviously, every game they come out extremely aggressive to start with,” Barnes said Friday. “They’re going to apply a great deal of pressure in the first four or five minutes of the game and see how you’re going to handle that.”
For the Longhorns (23-11) to spring the upset, they’ll need to handle it better than 15th-seeded Binghamton did.
Fresh off its eighth ACC tournament title in 11 years, Duke (29-6) spoiled the Bearcats’ first tournament appearance by scoring 24 points off their 18 turnovers, and rolled to its most lopsided win in the NCAAs since a 28-point romp over Seton Hall five years ago during its run to its most recent Final Four.
Now comes the next challenge for the Blue Devils: Keeping that momentum flowing well enough to push them into the tournament’s second weekend for the first time since 2006.