TULSA, Okla. - Derrick Williams was only 9 years old the last time Duke broke the Arizona Wildcats' hearts.
But that doesn't matter.
He still dislikes the Blue Devils as much as most Wildcats fans probably do.
"Everybody, when they grow up, wants to beat Duke," Williams said Sunday, after UA beat Texas 70-69 to reach a Sweet 16 game with the Blue Devils on Thursday. "You want to beat Duke. Everybody wants Duke to lose. That's what I'm thinking right now."
The Wildcats won't be expected to beat Duke, probably even less so than when they last faced the Blue Devils in the 2001 NCAA championship game in Minneapolis. That's when the top-ranked Blue Devils pulled away late for an 82-72 win over a talented Wildcat team that had coped with the midseason death of coach Lute Olson's first wife, Bobbi.
Arizona was installed as a 10-point underdog this time around, though the line moved to nine points at many Las Vegas sports books by Monday afternoon, according to Vegasinsider.com.
The Wildcats, however, do have one believer: TV analyst Charles Barkley said the winner of the Texas-Arizona game could go far in the tournament, a statement UA forward Kevin Parrom has taken to heart.
"I believed him," Parrom said. "Duke is a great team, but everybody's beatable, so we think we can go in there and win. Plus, we're playing in Cali, so we'll have a lot of our home fans there to support us."
That is, if those fans can get in the building. Immediately in the Wildcats jubilant locker room celebration, caught on video by UA and posted on Facebook, Los Angeles product Solomon Hill swung his arms joyfully and shouted "We're going home! I'm gonna need you all's tickets!"
The game is just as exciting, of course, for those Wildcats from the East Coast, too.
It's Duke. Defending national champion. Sweet 16.
"How would you feel?" New Yorker MoMo Jones said, grinning, when asked about the matchup. "It doesn't get any better than this. It doesn't get any better than this."
Of course, the coaches are excited as well.
"When you play Duke," UA head coach Sean Miller said, "it's the ultimate challenge because nobody in the tournament has been there as many times as them, and you think about their roster - a year ago, they won the national championship. We have a tough task."
With an 0-for-6 shooting game against Texas, Jones said it wasn't his night.
Instead, he had the happy task of figuring out whose night it was.
Hill had 16 points, eight rebounds and two assists in what Miller called his best game as Wildcat.
"Solomon came through when we needed him to," Jones said. "I told him this was his night. Solomon, he's had some tough times this year, and it was his night."
Meanwhile, Jordin Mayes was 4 for 4 from three-point range, with 16 points, two assists and two steals.
"Jordin Mayes, I can't say enough," Jones said. "Big, big plays. Derrick hit the game-winner, but this night belonged to Jordin Mayes."
Mayes has now hit nine straight three-pointers, dating to UA's win over USC in the Pac-10 tournament, a fact he had no clue about.
"I didn't know it was nine, but when we started, we knew everybody was going to key on Derrick," Mayes said.
UA did not issue an update on Parrom's status Monday, though Parrom said after Sunday's game he would be fine despite not being able to play much after stepping on a Texas player's foot.
"I told Coach, 'I can't go right now,'" said Parrom, who briefly re-entered the game. "I just had to cheer for my teammates because it was starting to hurt. At first, it was fine. Then I sat down and came out, and it started to swell up a little bit. But it should be fine. I'll be all right, ready for Duke.
"I'm going to ice it every single minute. Everybody needs to be ready for Duke."
After chartering home from Tulsa late Sunday night, the Wildcats were scheduled to take Monday off and practice today before flying to Orange County tonight.
After arriving in Anaheim, the Wildcats are expected to practice privately Wednesday in addition to holding their mandatory public shootaround at the Honda Center.
"It's going to be a crazy week," forward Jesse Perry said. "But one thing we can do as a team is keep our heads, get a lot of fluids in our body, continue to rest, and we'll be OK."
• Who: No. 5 Arizona (29-7) vs. No. 1 Duke (32-4)
• Where: Anaheim, Calif.
• When: 6:45 p.m. Thursday
• TV: Ch. 13
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM