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Duke, North Carolina take rivalry to Final Four

And then there were four.

While Duke (32-6) and coach Mike Krzyzewski are authoring a storybook signoff as West Region champs, archrival North Carolina (28-9), the No. 8 seed in the East Region, crashed the Final Four and stands in the way of any epic sendoff the Blue Devils might have planned Monday night.

The Tar Heels already spoiled Coach K’s homecourt goodbye in a game coach Hubert Davis believes flipped the switch for what he felt was an underachieving team up to that point. When his group walks into the Superdome in New Orleans for the first time for a practice open to the public on Friday, he hopes they realize the gravity the Tar Heels defied to get here.

“I don’t think anything can be as crazy as the game leading up the game over in Cameron. As I said before, we keep our eyes straight ahead and we ignore all the noise,” Davis said. “And I consistently tell them to turn down or turn off the noise of the phone, family and friends. If you do that — just focus on our preparation and our practice and if you do that, then our play will be good. And that’s what we’re going to do this upcoming week.”

Davis called the last 11-plus months “a wild ride.” Hired to replace retiring Roy Williams and get North Carolina back to where bluebloods belong – the Final Four – Davis has been to the Final Four as a player and coach before. He wants to keep the focus on players and their experience.

But Davis understands he’ll be asked about the postgame handshake line at Cameron Indoor Stadium and said this week he remembers “everything” that happened this season.

Krzyzewski is taking it a step further to diminish the rivalry and any remnant embers from the postgame handshake incident in which Blue Devils assistant Chris Carrawell snubbed Davis.

Duke and Carolina take the court in the Superdome on Saturday night following the first national semifinal between Villanova and Kansas.

Story continues

This is the first time the rivals have met in the Final Four. It’s the 258th game between the…

Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/duke-north-carolina-rivalry-final-191741667.html?src=rss

Author : The Associated Press

Publish date : 2022-03-30 19:17:41

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