NCAA Tournament: Duke, Michigan State Complete Final Four Lineup
Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils used a back-breaking 17-10 run in the final 3:36 to end the Baylor Bears‘ NCAA season and prevent a shut out of number one seeds in the Final Four. Nolar Smith dropped 29 points to help Duke clinch its first trip to the Final Four since 2004 with a 78-71 victory.
The game was still tied with less than four minutes to play, but a Smith three-point basket off a Lance Thomas pass and another trey from Jon Scheyer, who finished with 20 points, gave the Blue Devils the lead for good. LaceDarius Dunn had 22 points and Ekpe Udoh added 18 for Baylor, whose program has finally recovered following scandals that rocked it seven years ago.
In the other match of the day, Raymar Morgan hit a free throw with just over a second remaining in the match to send the Michigan State Spartans to their second-straight Final Four appearance via a close win over the Tennessee Volunteers, 70-69. With the victory, Michigan becomes the only team to make it back to the big dance. Defending champion North Carolina, which beat Michigan in last year’s final, did not even make the NCAA Tournament, the same fate that Connecticut suffered. Villanova, on the other hand, fell in the second round.
Next weekend’s Final Four in Indianapolis will feature Duke against West Virginia while Michigan will take on Butler.