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Houston • Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski praised the work of Utah's Larry Krystkowiak and the rest of the Utes during a news conference Thursday, but he couldn't verify the story of the coaches' first meeting.

Krystkowiak this week detailed how he once spotted Krzyzewski in a 7-Eleven and gave him an awkward high-five while they were recruiting in Las Vegas.

"I am usually not in 7-Elevens in Las Vegas. I'm usually at the Wynn doing something," Krzyzewski said. "I'm not saying it didn't [happen]. I would never diss another Polish-American."

Having interviewed Krystkowiak on his satellite radio show in February, Krzyzewski labeled him "just a really incredible guy, and I know the kids on the team benefit greatly from having a coach like him."

Houston homecoming

Duke forward Justise Winslow celebrated his 19th birthday Thursday in his hometown. The freshman was motivated by the opportunity to come home in the NCAA Tournament, knowing "there's no getting to Houston without winning the first two." The Blue Devils advanced to the Sweet 16 by beating Robert Morris and San Diego State at Charlotte, N.C.

Winslow is a son of Rickie Winslow, who started as a freshman for the 1984 Houston team known as "Phi Slama Jama" that lost to Patrick Ewing's Georgetown team in the national championship game in Seattle. Justise Winslow was raised primarily by his mother, Robin, following his parents' divorce, but maintains a relationship with his father.

Winslow's playing time increased after forward Rasheed Sulaimon, another Houston product, was dismissed from the team in late January.

Efficiency experts

Duke's offense averages 80.4 points to rank fifth in the country, and the Blue Devils' efficiency is even higher. Their adjusted offensive ranking is No. 2, according to Utah's defense is No. 7, making for a good matchup Friday.

Krzyzewski described Utah's Delon Wright as "one of the best guards in the country, and he makes everybody better, both offensively and defensively."

Twitter: @tribkurt