Nova's Dunkadelic Beatdown of Duke has a 1990 UNLV Feel to it
The Duke Blue Devils have arguably been the best team in college basketball since winning the 1991 NCAA Championship over Kansas. It was the semi-final win over Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon, Larry Johnson, and the rest of the UNLV Rebels that catapulted Duke as America's College Basketball team.
A year earlier Duke lost the 1990 NCAA Championship game to UNLV 103-73 in the largest deficit of defeat in NCAA Championship history. The Rebels were also the first team to score over 100 points in that Championship game.
The Devils won 2 more NCAA Championships winning back-to-back in 1992 and then again in 2001. The 1999 Duke team led by Elton Brand lost the NCAA Championship game to the UConn Huskies 77-74.
Brand left Duke after his sophomore season and became the 1st overall pick of the 1999 NBA Draft. Corey Maggette the hi-flying guard/forward followed Brand and entered the draft after playing only one-season at Krzyzewskiville.
Duke made it to the 2004 Final Four and lost to UConn once again in the semi-final game 79-78. The 2004 Final Four was the last appearance by Duke.
Since 2004 the Blue Devils have 3 Sweet 16 appearances, 1 first-round, and 1 second-round exit. They have seen the same problem over and over again when the run into a team that is more physical, athletic, and quicker they get beat and on a couple of games get routed.
Tonight Duke faced a Villanova squad that was more physical, athletic, and quicker. Rap-star Jay-Z released one of his most popular songs from his debut album named 'Can't Knock the Hustle'. Nova out muscled and hustled Duke all the way to the Elite 8 for a match-up against Big East rival Pittsburgh who out lasted a tough Xavier team 60-55.
Villanova gave Duke its worst NCAA Tournament defeat 77-54 since that 30-point loss to UNLV 19 years ago in 1990.
The Wildcats held a 26-23 halftime lead before locking down Duke with pressure defense and dominating the paint with offensive and defensive rebounding.
Duke shot a season-low 26.7 percent for the game (16-for-60) and was just 5-for-27 (18.5 percent) from 3-point range. The list of culprits who were thrown off their offensive games by Villanova's defense almost matched the meager number of assists (seven) that the Blue Devils managed.
Where does Duke go from here?
The Blue Devils must recruit better players in the low-post or they will run into this again in the near future. The bulls-eye is on Duke and other teams want to beat them and do it like the Vegas squad of 1990, and the 2009 Villanova Wildcats.