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Monday, March 21, 2005

No Black Sunday

Carolina cruises past Iowa State, while Duke takes a tough win over Mississippi State:

"The Blue Devils rejoiced because they knocked off a team more talented than most No. 9 seeds with a team not as talented as many of the Blue Devils' No.1 seeded-teams."

K:

"We feel honored to win this game, I'm telling you. I've been in a number of second-round games, and this one was as though (as I've had)."

K has said before that this was his most talented team defensively, and I think this showed as the game went down the stretch. The Devils realized they were matched inside:

"The Bulldogs also dictated the inside game after figuring out early that the Devils were more concerned about containing Mississippi State's guards and had chosen to let Williams guard (Lawrence) Roberts one-on-one."

While Shelden Williams certainly stepped up to match Roberts, the Devils didn't panic and kept the pressure on the Bulldogs' backcourt. Though Duke had more turnovers than Mississippi State, down the stretch they were constantly on the ball, showing the kind of hustle that produced the game's biggest play: J.J. Redick's breakaway layup that was blocked from behind, only to be followed up by Daniel Ewing.

Though Wake Forest and Georgia Tech are gone, we have an interesting mix left: A team on a a mission, a team that looks like it could cruise to the Final Four, and the gutsy conference champions running on fumes but who still find a way to win. Though Wake was on the losing end, they were a per of one of the better games of theseason, period. Again, this will be very interesting. Our conference is representing us well.