INDIANAPOLIS (KRON) — Duke is one step away from its fifth national championship.
Justise Winslow had 19 points, Jahlil Okafor added 18 and the top-seeded Blue Devils beat up on Big Ten power Michigan State 81-61 in Saturday night’s national semifinal.
Next up: The winner of unbeaten Kentucky and fellow top seed Wisconsin.
The seventh-seeded Spartans were considered the long shot in this Final Four of bluebloods, though nobody had counted them out with March maestro Tom Izzo on the sideline. But their magic wore off quickly against the coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils, who used their superior size, speed and some stingy perimeter defense to make the second half academic.
Duke led by double digits the entire final 20 minutes, allowing a fan base that has grown accustomed to being on college basketball’s biggest stage plenty of time to celebrate.
Krzyzewski, who improved to 9-1 against Izzo, said earlier this week that he doesn’t put much stock in history. But it’s certainly on his side: The Blue Devils won national titles in 1991 and 2010, the last two times they played in a final in Indianapolis.
No wonder their fans started chanting “Our house!” in the final minute.
At the other end of the floor, many white-clad Michigan State fans spent the second half staring quietly at their feet. After victories over second-seeded Virginia, third-seeded Oklahoma and fourth-seeded Louisville, they were finally done in by a No. 1 seed.
Denzel Valentine scored 22 points to lead the Spartans. Travis Trice had 16.