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No. 4 Ohio State challenges streaking Duke

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AP
Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas (1) steals the ball from Missouri-Kansas City's Kirk Korver (44) during the first half Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Mike Munden
By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thad Matta jokes that he has a secret weapon going into No. 4 Ohio State's ACC/Big Ten Challenge showdown Wednesday night at No. 2 Duke.

Greg Paulus, in his second year as the Buckeyes' video coordinator, was one of the Blue Devils' patented scrappy point guards from 2006-09. He's diagrammed where all the dead spots are on the floor at legendary Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“He's got it all mapped out,” Matta said, trying to hold back a grin. “There's a big chart with pins stuck in it.”

Instead of the nuances of the old gym, the Buckeyes (4-0) are concerned more with how they play and how that measures up against the mighty Blue Devils (6-0) in a key game for both teams.

To get ready for the trip — and for a date with Cameron Indoor's famously loud and boisterous students — Matta had crowd noise blaring during practice this week. That's about the only concession the Buckeyes have made to the game beyond a series of hard practices.

When No. 3 Duke played at second-ranked Ohio State last season, the Buckeyes could do no wrong, and the Blue Devils could do no right.

Ohio State scored the first 11 points, led by 19 at the half and was on top by as many as 25 in what ended up as an 85-63 landslide. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said his team was tired and overwhelmed.

“Sometimes you just get your butt kicked,” Krzyzewski said after the blowout.

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