The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

March 30, 2010

WVU fans prefer to play Duke

FAIRMONT —  

With about five or six minutes remaining in the Duke-Baylor NCAA Elite Eight game on Sunday, the following question was raised of this West Virginia fan. Would you rather see Duke or Baylor win this game? At the time the score was tied.

Well considering that coach Mike Krzyzewski would be entering his 11th Final Four if his Blue Devils won, and Baylor would be making its first, the obvious answer might be the Baylor Bears. This would be Baylor’s maiden journey into this grandest of basketball tournaments. Coach Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers might have a better edge against Baylor in the semi-finals of the NCAA Tournament.

But then we thought: how many basketball fans know anything about Baylor. Duke has a storied reputation in the sport. Even though the Blue Devils haven’t qualified for the Final Four since 2004, when people think of Duke, they think of Coach K and Blue Devil basketball.

Of course, Coach K might have taken Duke to the Final Four back in 2008 — when coach Huggins’ was in his first year at helm of the Mountaineers and they were matched with the Blue Devils after winning their first three games in the NCAA Tournament. But West Virginia proved the master of the Blue Devils that day, upsetting them with Joe Alexander having a great game along with Joe Mazzulla. 

The guard from Rhode Island probably played his best game as a Mountaineer that day — at least until the tremendous all-around effort he turned in Saturday night against Kentucky that brought him Most Valuable Player honors in the Eastern Regional of the NCAA.

So Duke it is in Saturday night’s second semi-final round game following the clash between Michigan State and Butler. We think that’s the way most WVU fans wanted it.

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