In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
Led by Mike Krzyzewski, Duke wins its third NCAA Tournament, beating Arizona 82-72 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The Blue Devils were helped by a trio of big three-pointers from Mike Dunleavy Jr. in the second half, as Shane Battier was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. It was Duke's first National Championship since 1992, as they had lost in the title game in 1994 and 1999.
It was another big season for Duke, as they were ranked near the top of the rankings all season as they posted a record of 29-4, winning the ACC Tournament. Shane Battier was the star of the team, winning National Player of the Year honors. The Blue Devils also had Mike Dunleavy Jr. providing the long-distance shots and Carlos Boozer, who would have a long NBA career.
Duke ranked first overall pummeled Monmouth 95-52 in the first game; they would beat Missouri 94-81 to reach the Sweet 16. At the East Regionals at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, the Blue Devils rolled over Hollywood, beating UCLA 76-63 and USC 79-69 to reach the Final Four. Arizona reached the Final Four as the #2 seed in the Midwest. They started their tournament with a 101-76 over Eastern Illinois. They followed it up with a 73-52 win over Butler. In the Sweet 16in San Antonio, the Wildcats beat Ole Miss 66-56 while they clawed their way past #1 Illinois 87-81 to reach the Twin Cities.
Michigan State and Maryland rounded out the Final Four. Maryland came out of the West Region as the #3 seed. They survived a scare in the first round, edging George Mason 83-80. They followed it up with a Georgia State 79-60 to reach the regionals in Anaheim. In the Sweet 16, the Terrapins beat Georgetown 76-66. To reach the Final Four, Maryland stunned #1 Stanford 87-73. Michigan State, the reigning champions, cruised to the Final Four, beating Alabama State 69-35 and Fresno State 81-65 to make the second weekend. In Atlanta, they beat Gonzaga 77-62 to reach the Elite 8, where they fought off Temple 69-62.
In a battle of ACC rivals, Duke ran past Maryland 95-84, while the Spartans reign was ended by Arizona 80-61, spoiling what would have been one of the most anticipated finals in NCAA Tournament history. The Blue Devils trailed at one point by 22 points in the first half but cut the deficit to 11 points before taking over in the second half in the biggest comeback in Final Four history.
After their comeback against Maryland, Duke took control early in the championship game against Arizona. The Wildcats clawed back into the game and were within two early in the second half. Mike Dunleavy Jr., however, hit three straight three points as the Blue Devils went on an 11-2 run and cruised the rest of the way to win the championship 82-72.