March 19, 2011

Duke Sends a Loud Message

By - Kris Fletcher

All the Duke haters out there may very well get another reason to hate the Blue Devils come April 4th. That's the night of the championship game.

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In dismantling the Hampton Pirates yesterday by a final score of 87-45, the defending champs may have shown that they are still in fact the team to beat moving forward in this years tournament.

The Blue Devils dominated from the start and never trailed, while shooting 53% from the field. The win, Duke's fourth straight, advanced them to the third-round, and a match-up with the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday. Duke hasn't played Michigan in the NCAA's since beating them 71-51 in the 1992 championship game.

Leading the way for the Blue Devils Friday was freshman-sensation Kyrie Irving, who scored a team-high 14 points in his first game back since suffering severe ligament damage to his right big toe on December 4th. "It felt really good being out there with my teammates again," Irving said.

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Also helping Duke's cause were Andre Dawkins, who added 13 points, Mason Plumlee who dropped in 12, Kyle Singler who finished with 11 and Miles Plumlee who grabbed 13 boards.

Of the four #1 seeds, Coach Krzyzewski's squad appeared to be the one given the least chance of making it to the Final Four by the so-called experts as the tournament began. However, with the return of Irving and in playing with what seemed to be a chip on their shoulders Friday, Duke showed they may in fact be the strongest of the top seeds, not the weakest.

The Blue Devils still have a long road ahead in the west region, with the likes of San Diego State, Connecticut and Arizona possibly looming down the line. But if nothing else, this team has shown that they're extremely resilient, so don't be surprised if they manage to make it to Reliant Stadium April 4th for a chance at defending their championship.

All you haters get ready.

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