I realized this morning where Duke stands going into today’s 5 o’clock tilt with Baylor. On the verge of the program’s first Final Four since 2004. Coach K’s eleventh trip to the promised land in his legendary career. An opportunity for our seniors to reach the climax of their careers on college basketball’s biggest stage.
But the most important aspect may be abstract and intangible, a feeling rather than a statistic. A trip to Indianapolis would redeem the trend of March heartbreak, and silence all the doubters who questioned Duke’s placement in the weak South region.
The experts and pundits question Duke’s ability to handle an athletic and hungry Baylor team, whose first NCAA tournament appearance has been a fantastic success. Moreover, we’re playing them on their turf: Waco, Texas is just four hours from Houston’s Reliant Stadium. Baylor demolished the upstart St. Mary’s Gaels—they look comfortable on that weird raised floor.
This game will not be easy, but we have been building to this moment for four years, ever since LSU’s Garrett Temple shut down JJ Redick and crushed Duke’s hopes of a 2006 title run.
Laettner’s shot eighteen years ago sent Duke to a “-polis” (Minneapolis) which resulted in our second straight national title. Will Duke require more heroics to make it to Indy? Hope not. Let’s put down the Bears and get ready to take care of business in Indy.