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Duke, West Virginia, Michigan State, Butler Headed to Final Four 44

Posted: March 29, 2010, 3:16 PM ; Updated: March 29, 2010, 3:48 PM

DUKE SNAPS FINAL FOUR DROUGHT


HOUSTON (AP) -- Mike Krzyzewski insisted all along the drought didn't bother him.

Sure, he hadn't been to a Final Four since 2004. But there was no need to put extra pressure on this Duke team just because the last five fell short.

Hey, Coach K, look who's chasing another national championship.

Duke restored some order to a topsy-turvy NCAA tournament on Sunday, getting a career-high 29 points from Nolan Smith in a 78-71 victory over Baylor that put Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils back in college basketball's biggest event.

''It's not about the moments that I've been in, it's the moments that your players put you in right now,'' Krzyzewski said. ''I'm really happy for this group. ... It's as close a team as I've had. You want great things to happen for people who are great with us.''

Jon Scheyer added five 3-pointers and scored 20 for Duke, ending Baylor's run to redemption in the South Regional final. The Blue Devils became the only No. 1 seed to advance to Indianapolis and earned their 11th Final Four berth under Krzyzewski.

''I don't know if it's a relief, but it's nice that no one can say anymore that we haven't been to a Final Four in so many years,'' Kyle Singler said.

Now, Singler and his teammates get the chance at a championship that every player who goes through the program expects to have.

''I don't know that it's fully hit me,'' said Scheyer, one of the three Duke seniors. ''I'm sure after the year I'll have a better appreciation. But right now, I'm just ecstatic.''

 

MORGAN'S FREE THROW LEADS MICHIGAN STATE


ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The players come and go, the years pass. About the only thing that doesn't change is Tom Izzo and Michigan State's mastery in March.

The fifth-seeded Spartans are on their way to their second straight Final Four and sixth in 12 years after Raymar Morgan 's free throw with less than 2 seconds left lifted Michigan State to a 70-69 victory over Tennessee in the Midwest Regional final Sunday.

''There is nothing greater than going to a Final Four that I know of,'' Izzo said, ''except winning it.''

No team in the country - not North Carolina, not Kansas, not UCLA, not Kentucky - has been better during the Spartans' run. And all six of those trips have come under Izzo, the hard-nosed coach who preaches defense, rebounding, defense, physical play, and have we mentioned defense?

Izzo, who took over from longtime mentor Jud Heathcote for the 1995-96 season, is 6-1 in the regional finals. His only loss was to top-seeded Texas in 2003.

''Tom Izzo does his best in the NCAA tournament,'' said Magic Johnson, who sat in the Michigan State cheering section and embraced Izzo after the game. ''He loves the big moment. He understands what he needs to do against every team. He comes up with a great game plan every single time. He deserves all the credit in the world.''

The Spartans, last year's national runner-up, will be looking for championship No. 3 next weekend in Indianapolis. They play Butler, also a No. 5 seed and sure to be the hometown favorite, in the semifinals Saturday night.

''They're hot right now. They're playing some of their best basketball,'' Morgan said. ''But we're also hot right now. We're playing some of our best basketball.''

 

WEST VIRGINIA UPENDS KENTUCKY


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Da'Sean Butler and the Mountaineers are off to the Final Four for the first time since 1959.

Joe Mazzulla scored a career-high 17 points in his first start this season and West Virginia handled a cold-shooting Kentucky team stocked with future NBA players almost from the opening tip for a 73-66 victory in the East Regional final Saturday night.

''It's something we've been preaching,'' Butler said. ''Not even just two more. Ever since we won our first game. Five more, four more, three more. It doesn't mean anything unless you win the whole thing.''

Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins, back with his alma mater, is in the Final Four for the first time since taking Cincinnati in 1992. It's an even longer stretch for West Virginia - Jerry West was the star of the team 51 years ago, and not yet a Hall of Famer or NBA logo.

''The first day I was here, I told them I came back to win a national championship,'' Huggins said. ''I came back to win it for the university, having played there, and for the great people of our state.''

For freshman sensation John Wall and the young Wildcats (35-3), a scintillating season ended with a clang.

They were awful from 3-point range, missing their first 20 attempts and finishing a stunning 4 of 32 (12.5 percent). DeAndre Liggins finally hit a 3 with 3:29 left to end the drought, but by then it was too late.

West Virginia went the other way, making eight 3s in the first half without a 2-point basket.

 

BUTLER HEADED HOME FOR FINAL FOUR


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Every day they walk into practice, they also walk onto a movie set - the one where they filmed the story about the little team that gets its big chance and lives out the unthinkable dream.

That's the story of ''Hoosiers.''

That's also the story of Butler - the team that's reminding everyone that big schools with big money don't have a monopoly on everything in big-time sports.

Yes, the boys from Butler did it - getting 22 points from Gordon Hayward to defeat Kansas State 63-56 in the West Regional final Saturday and advance to the Final Four.

Next, the Bulldogs take their 24-game winning streak to downtown Indy. Though only five miles from the Butler campus, it's hard to think of many programs that have taken a longer, more unlikely road to get this close to a championship.

''It'd be just as cool if we moved it to Hinkle,'' Butler coach Brad Stevens said of his team's fieldhouse. ''I'd be all for that.''

No such luck. Still, the fifth-seeded Bulldogs (32-4) are writing their own underdog story, even if they can't really be called underdogs anymore.

Shelvin Mack scored 16 and Ronald Nored and Willie Veasley keyed an in-your-face defensive effort on K-State guards Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente to help Butler become the first school from a true, mid-major conference to make the Final Four since George Mason in 2006 - a trip that also ended in Indianapolis.

''This is probably the coolest thing that's ever happened in my life,'' Nored said.

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (17 votes)

44 Comments

Yes way Jose

um, no way jose.

i say butler. really proving the cinderella story team

i think duke in the end is going too have a upset michigan state and west virgina will be in the champonship west virgina all the way go ahead comment me

i think that u are right.

Naw man I think you are right even though I HATE WVU I think they are gonna win

correct yo

All of my final 4 are out execpt Duke.But I am not so sure if Duke can win it all.I'm stupid for picking Kansas all the way.

well, ALMOST everyone did, so ur not alone. i was one of the only who picked duke to win it all in almost everywhere i went. I remember a SportsCener guy said that kansas didnt have enough firepower to make it all the way, and i took those words in like lifesaving medicine. they are my roll models, and i believed them (and i partly thought that kansas was overrated from the start) but everyone thought i was crazy. well, now look!
ps. i also know that those SportsCenter guys arent always right, but something about my prior knowledge mixed in with what he said and how he said it just gave me this feeling...
pss. you were not crazy for picking kansas cuz they were a good team weather they deserved that high rating, number one seed overall, and tons of die-hard fans.

kansas had a good year... it was hard not 2 pick them 2 go all of the way... i think their problem was team chemistry. They had so many talented guys that the guys that were used 2 getting the ball werent as much. This made them upset and was the cause 4 some chemistry issues

How did Butler make it!!!!!!!!!!!
K-State is way but they stunk against Butler!!!!!!!
I think Ohio State should be in the final four I can't believe they lost to TENNESSEE!!!!!!!!!!!
I should've never picked Nova to go to the final four!!!!!!!
I got really lucky with West Virginia I was going to change it to Kentucky!!!!!!!

Duke vs West Virginia - Winner WVU
Michigan State vs Butler - Winner MSU

MSU vs WVU

Champion
West Virginia

Correct... in my eyes at least

Everyone of my final four teams are out except West Virginia BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

My Final Four Teams:

Ohio State ( Midwest )

Kans State ( West )

*West Virginia* ( East )

Villanova ( South )

Same here:
Nova
Syracuse
Kansas
Kentucky

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