INDIANAPOLIS - All things considered, it was one of those issues that was probably media-generated. Someone dug up an old quote or perhaps just an old, clouded memory and somehow tried to make it into controversy.
Hey, it's the Final Four. It's like the Super Bowl in many ways - everyone has an angle and everyone wants controversy.
In this case it was Joe Mazzulla following West Virginia's 2008 NCAA tournament win over Duke in Washington. The West Virginia point guard, giddy with a spot in the Sweet 16 and a win over one of college basketball's big boys, slapped the floor at the end of the game. Afterward he might even have said something about Duke being overrated.
Of course, it became an issue this weekend in the lead-up to West Virginia's national semifinal game against Duke at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was a stretch, sure, but it still became an issue.
And as much as Mazzulla tried to avoid the questions, he just couldn't.
"It was a spur-of-the-moment thing,'' he said Friday about the floor-slapping. "You don't think you get a chance to play Duke that many times in your career. They're obviously a team with such great history and tradition. You get caught up in the emotions. It was more a spur-of-the-moment-type thing.''
Duke's players remember the game. Five of this year's Blue Devils played that day at the Verizon Center in a game WVU won 73-67. Kyle Singler and Lance Thomas were and still are starters, although neither was particularly effective that day. Nolan Smith and Brian Zoubek played bit parts. Jon Scheyer was a sophomore guard who came off the bench to play 29 minutes and score 15 points.
While Scheyer admits that losing the game - or any game, for that matter - tends to stick with a player, anything Mazzulla might have done or said doesn't particularly stick with him.
"I definitely remember the game. You do remember parts of what people say,'' Scheyer said Friday. "But for us, we know we were a different team, first of all, and they were a different team. They had a lot of different guys. For us, we're really not using that as a payback-type thing. For us, of course we want to beat a team that knocked us out two years ago. Who wouldn't? That's our approach.
"But [comments] don't bother me. You know, people are going to say what they say. For the most part, I think our team is not paying too much attention to the things they said afterwards.''