Though they've played five more times over the years, not since that 1991 title bout [url=http://www.officialheatauthentic.com/authentic-40-udonis-haslem-jersey.html]http://www.officialheatauthentic.com/authentic-40-udonis-haslem-jersey.html[/url] have the Jayhawks and Blue Devils clashed against each other with more on the line than they will Sunday afternoon in Omaha, where a ticket to San Antonio and a berth in the Final Four will be at stake. "Two great programs, two really big programs," Duke guard Grayson Allen said. "It's going to be an awesome game."
With a shared history between the two sides making it all the more so. All told, Kansas and Duke have met in the NCAA tournament five times prior, including the 1986 (Duke won in Dallas, 71-67) and 1988 (Kansas won in Kansas City, 66-59) Final Fours. But the '91 national championship showdown in Indianapolis remains the seminal moment between the two.
Shortly after his Blue Devils survived Syracuse 69-65 late Friday night, a relieved Mike Krzyzewski was nowhere near [url=http://www.officialsbuccaneersprostore.com/J_R_Sweezy_Jersey_Cheap]http://www.officialsbuccaneersprostore.com/J_R_Sweezy_Jersey_Cheap[/url] ready to talk Kansas or what that first national championship meant for him and the Duke program after several close misses. ithout the same star power, a third-year coach by the name of Roy Williams leaned on grit and a senior in Mark Randall, who would become the only first-round draft pick from that blue-collar unit for [url=http://www.columbusbluejacketsofficialonline.com/Adidas-Josh-Anderson-Jersey]Josh Anderson Youth jersey[/url] Kansas.
Likewise, these Jayhawks are short on NBA talent, at least by past standards. Yet behind Graham, who has elevated himself onto the short list for national player of the year in his senior season, Kansas just keeps piling up wins. On Friday, the Jayhawks added victory No. 30 on the season, jumping to a big lead before holding off a late Clemson rally for an 80-76 decision to advance to the Elite Eight.
"I think of all the teams that we've had here," Self said, "this would be the team that everyone would have thought would not be in this game." On the other side, the Blue Devils are right where [url=http://www.patriotsshopfootballonline.com/39-montee-ball-super-bowl-jersey.html]Montee Ball Jersey[/url] their talent suggested they'd be all along. Few Duke teams come close to matching the star power of the early '90s teams, which were headlined by Hill, Hurley and Christian Laettner, all of whom were All-Americans and to this day remain household names in college basketball. The 1990-91 team, which knocked off undefeated powerhouse UNLV before toppling Kansas 72-65 in the national title game, transformed Duke from a great program to a preeminent one. ("After we beat Vegas the game before ... we just knew we were going to win," Hill said.)
Over the next 5 minutes, 21 seconds, Villanova outscored West Virginia 22-6, turning that six-point deficit into a 10-point lead and sparking the Wildcats to a 90-78 victory and a trip to Sunday's Elite Eight game against Texas Tech. Five players scored during the run, with four players making a 3-pointer. Omari Spellman blocked a shot, then went downcourt and had a putback dunk. Spellman hit a 3 a couple possessions later. Brunson got to the free throw line at will and hit a 3-pointer to cap the run. It was a steady avalanche at both ends of the floor to take the spirit out of West Virginia.
The scariest thing about that Villanova run? It wasn't unusual. No team in the country has the ability to completely bury teams in a five-minute stretch like Villanova does, and the Wildcats have done that all season. In the second round, they opened the second half against Alabama on an 18-1 run to essentially end the game within minutes. Against Xavier in February, they went on a 30-9 run spanning two halves to knock off the eventual Big East champions.
"We're a very talented team," forward Eric Paschall said. "Any night, somebody could go off. We have a lot of weapons, and we're very [url=http://www.officialgiantsfootballs.com/Dominique-Rodgerscromartie-Jersey-Cheap]Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Authentic Jersey[/url] unselfish. We sacrifice for each other. We know we can make the right play. It just helps us in the long run." The barrage of 3-pointers gets the attention. Duke has the ability to overpower opponents with its size in the post, but that doesn't happen in the blink of an eye like Villanova's runs seem to happen. Twenty-two points in just over five minutes is nearly impossible to keep up with, even if it's West Virginia's Press Virginia.
Spellman makes the difference because he can make shots from the perimeter. He had 18 points on Friday, including four 3-pointers. His ability to stretch the floor kept Konate from staying at the rim and contesting every shot. "Coach always tells me to catch and shoot," Spellman said. "We were just looking to come out and run offense and score. I was just having a shoot 'em up, battle in the streets mentality. I was just trying to take the right shots and be aggressive."
"You can see it in our bench. When we get three or four stops in a row, our bench is fired up," guard Donte DiVincenzo said. "As a team on the court, we're fired up. If we're kicking the ball ahead and we're making shots, that's the easy part. "We all know that we can make a run defensively. If we make a 3, next possession we get a stop or steal and then a dunk at the other end. That one steal, kick-ahead to a dunk, that gets us going. That sparks us." Paschall said the team gets an extra boost on the defensive end of the floor, and suddenly, the players are looking at each other and know the momentum is turning in the game.
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