V-RECAPS | NCAA Tournament — Elite Eight | Sunday, March 28
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ATLANTA REGIONAL FINAL
(1) Duke 66, (7) Xavier 63
It was a battle in Atlanta as Duke -- rallying from a halftime deficit to win for only the fourth time this season -- defeated a hungry Xavier team. Coach Thad Matta's club fought until the final buzzer, but in the end Duke made several big plays in crunch time.
Diaper dandy forward Luol Deng made a couple of key plays, while guard J.J. Redick knocked down a big trifecta to help Duke to its first Final Four since 2001.
|Will Diaper Dandy Luol Deng bolt for the NBA or stay at Duke?|
Senior point guard Chris Duhon and the rest of Duke's guards did an outstanding job defending Xavier's perimeter trio of Lionel Chalmers, Romain Sato and Dedrick Finn.
Chalmers did get his share of points, but most of them came courtesy of the charity stripe.
This wasn't an easy regional for the Blue Devils as Illinois and Xavier challenged them, yet they still found a way to march on.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski has to be proud of the way his club fought back after its disappointing loss to Maryland in the ACC tournament championship game.
Now Duke will venture to the Final Four for the 14th time. The Blue Devils are looking for championship No. 4, and their game against Connecticut should be something special.
ST. LOUIS REGIONAL FINAL
(3) Georgia Tech 79, (4) Kansas 71 (overtime)
What a gutty performance by Georgia Tech. Coach Paul Hewitt's Yellow Jackets did something few teams could do, as they made it to the winner's circle without their top scorer for most of the game.
Guard B.J. Elder's injured ankle kept him on the sideline for most of the game, and losing a prolific scorer was a tough challenge against a talented Kansas team.
The Yellow Jackets would not lose because super soph Jarrett Jack made sure of it. Jack attacked the basket right from the start. He was aggressive on the offensive end with his penetration and took the game in his hands while his buddy Elder sat on the sidelines.
|Sophomore Jarrett Jack dominated the Jayhawks.|
Jack controlled the game with 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Meanwhile, 7-1 center Luke Schenscher played a big role inside with 15 points and helped stop Kansas big man Wayne Simien from getting shot opportunities down the stretch and in overtime. Also, Clarence Moore and the bench played well early and helped Tech build an 11-point lead.
Kansas fought back and showed a lot of heart as the Jayhawks attempted to make their third consecutive Final Four appearance. Guard Keith Langford, who is so talented off the dribble, has been playing despite a knee cartilage injury that will require surgery now that the season is over.
Langford (15 points) gave it all he had, overcoming frustration in the first half and helping get the Jayhawks to overtime. He ultimately fouled out in overtime, and Kansas was outscored 11-3 in the final 3:46 after Langford was forced to the sidelines with his fifth foul.
Kansas diaper dandy J.R. Giddens hit the 3-pointer that sent the game to an extra five minutes. He's a sensational athlete with great elevation and shooting range -- wait till Giddens appears as a super soph. He should be special with an extra year of experience.
Coach Bill Self has to be proud of his kids for going to the Elite Eight despite an up-and-down regular season. Now Self has taken three different schools to the Elite Eight, but he hasn't been able to get to the Final Four yet. He will get there in the near future ... it's just a matter of time.
Give coach Hewitt and his club a lot of credit. Now Georgia Tech gets ready for its first Final Four since 1990. Tech will face Oklahoma State in San Antonio. Hewitt is a rising star, and Georgia Tech AD Dave Braine needs to find the cash to lock him up for a long time.
With two ACC teams in the Final Four, ACC commissioner John Swofford, assistant commissioner Fred Barakat and all the other ACC administrators have to be jumping for joy, baby!
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he's been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.