Two Minute Drill: Matta, Players talk Duke

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Last updated: 11/28/2012 7:32 AM

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Men's Basketball
Two-Minute Drill: Matta, Players Talk Duke Trip
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State is 4-0 and ranked No. 4 in the country to start Thad Matta’s ninth season in Columbus, but all of that will be on the line Wednesday when they travel down south to Durham.

That’s where Matta’s Buckeyes will face Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Matta and two of his players – Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. – took some time Tuesday to preview the first big game of the 2012-13 OSU basketball season.

Looking At Last Year

* Smith said he remembers Ohio State's energy last year against Duke. Could feel it from the opening tip.

* Smith: "It doesn't matter what team we would have played that day, I don't think anybody could have beat us."

* Smith said after the Duke game, Thad Matta knew what he wanted from the team and what they were capable of. Held them to that.

* Matta said Duke missed some easy shots last year and it ignited Ohio State early in the game.

* Matta remembers that Duke game with mixed emotions because Sullinger was hurting afterward and they had to play without him.

Matching Up with Duke

* Matta said Seth Curry has assumed Austin Rivers role as the guy with the green light for Duke.

* Matta said he thinks Duke will have a heightened awareness of where Deshaun Thomas is, but doesn't expect them to change who they are.

Ready for Cameron Indoor

* Craft said Coach Dave Dickerson and Evan Ravenel have been talking to them about what it's like to play at Duke.

* Craft said he's really looking forward to seeing what the Duke students are going to yell at Greg Paulus down there.

* Craft said his favorite taunt was when Purdue fans sang "Party in the USA" while Sullinger was shooting free throws.

* Matta joking that Paulus has the court all mapped out with pins in the dead areas of the floor.

* Matta said he has piped in crowd noise during practice this week to simulate the hostile road environment they'll be in.

* Matta said the game in 2006 when they went to UNC without Greg Oden was the highest powered environment he's been in.

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