Friday, March 27, 2009

AND THEN THERE WAS ONE…ACC TEAM THAT IS

No. 3 VILLANOVA 77, No. 2 DUKE 54 – The book on Duke is an easy read: The Blue Devils can go as far as their shooting will take them. Evidently, New York was about as far as they wanted to go as a cold-shooting Duke team got dismantled in Boston by Villanova for the first time in 50 years.

Credit the Wildcats defense for this win. Duke had trouble getting good shots and at times they had trouble getting a shot off at all. Duke shot 16-60 from the field – that’s a whopping 26.7 percent. From behind the arc the Blue Devils shot 18.5 percent on 5 of 27 “shooting,” if you want to call it that. We prefer to call it “rock throwing.”

Gerald Henderson and Jon “Crazy Face” Scheyer who had been the key components of Duke’s late season surge were simply awful. The two were a 4 for 32 (12.5 percent) combined. Evidently, Scheyer (left) can’t shoot without the “crazy face.” Again credit Villanova’s defense as they simply smothered them.

Oh, and Duke also got outrebounded 46 to 32.

Game over.

Now, Villanova (29-7) will play Big East rival and No. 1 seed Pittsburgh (31-4) on Saturday for a trip to the Final Four. The Wildcats beat Pitt 67-57 in their regular-season meeting at Philadelphia on Jan. 28.

Villanova was playing on the tournament's second weekend for the fourth time in five years, though Jay Wright's Wildcats have yet to reach the Final Four.

"We were never in a flow," said guard Kyle Singler, who led Duke with 15 points. "From the start, it was a snowball effect. When something got bad, it just got worse."

Duke (30-7), which spent a week at No. 1 in the nation earlier this season, failed to reach the round of eight for the fifth consecutive year. In bowing out quietly, Duke was handed its worst tournament loss since a 30-point defeat to UNLV in the national title game.

The Blue Devils again failed to beat a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament and hasn't beaten one since winning the national title in 2001. The Blue Devils also have not advanced past the Sweet 16 since 2004.


(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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