The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

March 29, 2010

Running with the Devils

WVU, Duke to face off in Final Four showdown


Buckle your seat belt. It’s time for the rematch.

Duke became the only No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Final Four by defeating Baylor Sunday and will play West Virginia, a No. 2 seed, in the late game on Saturday in Indianapolis.

Tipoff is approximately 8:47 p.m.

The two teams met in the NCAA’s second round two years ago and the Mountaineers, with Joe Mazzulla having a career game by nearly reaching a triple double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists, beat the Blue Devils in an upset.

While Duke has been a fixture in the Final Four over the years under Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest active coach in college basketball, they have not been there since 2004. WVU has not been to a Final Four since Jerry West almost took them to the national title in 1959, losing in the final to Cal.

For Coach Bob Huggins, this is his first visit to the Final Four since 1992, when he went at Cincinnati and looked as though he would be a contender to go there often but things kept happening.

“I really believe if Allen Jackson hadn’t gotten hurt we probably would have gone in ’93 again,” Huggins said. “I said this the other day, I was at Akron and we played Michigan [in the tournament], they were the top team in the country, and we lose by four and I’m thinking how do you ever advance in this tournament, everyone is so good?

“The next time I get a chance to go, we go to the Final Four and then we go to the Elite Eight and I’m thinking this isn’t that hard. It is kind of hard, though.”

It takes good teams and better luck.

“We’ve had some bad luck,” Huggins said. “A.J. (Jackson) getting hurt in ’93. Kenyon (Martin) breaking his leg in 2000. Denny Crum said one time we were together doing a speaking thing, someone asked him what it took to win a national championship and he said, ‘You have to be lucky and you can’t be unlucky.’ He pointed to me and he said, ‘That’s the most unlucky guy I know.’”

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