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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Coach K says Kyrie Irving will play ‘significant minutes against Arizona’

    DURHAM, N.C. — Kyrie Irving will play “”significant minutes,”” against Arizona, according to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, but the Blue Devils’ freshman guard will not join the starting lineup in Thursday night’s NCAA West Regional semifinal game in Anaheim, Calif. (9:45 p.m. EDT).

    Irving returned from a 3{-month absence because of a toe injury and totaled 25 points in 41 minutes in Duke’s first two NCAA tournament games in Charlotte.

    But No. 1 seed Duke (32-5) has started Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee and Miles Plumlee for five straight games during the postseason.

    “”We’re good with who we’re starting,”” Krzyzewski said Tuesday before boarding the bus to the airport for the trip to California.

    “”We should have at least eight players feel like they’re starters on this team with Andre (Dawkins) and Ryan (Kelly). We’ve had nine people start on this team, so that’s an advantage. We can’t get caught up in who’s starting. Kyrie will play, and he will play significant minutes against Arizona.””

    Smith a Naismith finalist: Senior guard Nolan Smith is one of four finalists for the 2011 Naismith men’s college player of the year award, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The other finalists are Jimmer Fredette of BYU, Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Kemba Walker of Connecticut.

    Fans can text their votes for the player of their choice by texting VOTE to 345345. Fans will be eligible to cast their vote for the winner until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. Standard messaging rates apply. Fans are allowed one vote per 24-hour period.

    Smith is averaging 21.0 points, 5.2 assists and 4.5 rebounds a game for the Blue Devils.

    Time adjustment: College coaches usually try to get their players to go to bed at a decent hour.

    On Monday night, Krzyzewski surprised his players by ordering them to stay up late.

    “”We all looked around at each other, and we didn’t really believe him,”” Duke sophomore forward Mason Plumlee said. “”But it was a good point. Because there is a time difference, and we’re just making the adjustment.””

    Krzyzewski wants his players to get used to the three-hour time difference between the East Coast and the West Coast as they prepare to play what would be an extremely late game in the Eastern Time Zone Thursday.

    Wildcats’ Williams a concern: Duke’s biggest defensive concern will be 6-foot-8 Arizona forward Derrick Williams, the Pac-10’s Player of the Year, who is averaging 19.1 points per game.

    Williams is shooting 60 percent from the field and has attempted 313 free throws, 87 more than anybody on Duke’s roster. It’s not easy to double-team him because he can pass out to open shooters on a team that has made 39.9 percent of its 3-point shots.

    “”When he’s going to the line, he gets his team to the line,”” Krzyzewski said. “”He gets his team to the bonus and the double bonus. Whatever points he scores, he gets more points that he doesn’t get credit for that he gets his teammates. And then they can shoot the ball.””

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