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Archive for Monday, March 26, 2001

Duke

March 26, 2001

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Michigan State, the defending champion, and Arizona won Sunday to reach the Final Four along with Duke and Maryland, Atlantic Coast Conference rivals who will meet for the fourth time this season.

Duke, ranked No. 1 in the final regular-season Associated Press poll, was installed by Las Vegas oddsmakers as even-money favorites to win the championship. Michigan State was next at 3-1.

Michigan State (28-4) will play Arizona (27-7) in the opening semifinal Saturday at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, followed by Duke (33-4) against Maryland (25-10). The championship game is Monday night.

Michigan State became just the third school since 1985 and ninth ever to reach the national semifinals three years in a row.

"To be in three straight Final Fours says something about consistency," coach Tom Izzo said after the Spartans held off Temple 69-62 to win the NCAA South Regional. "Is our program looked at the same way as Kentucky and Duke and North Carolina? Maybe not. But we're trying to get there."

Michigan State is trying to become the first school to win consecutive NCAA titles since Duke in 1991-92.

Arizona, the 1997 national champion, beat Illinois 87-81 in the Midwest Regional final.

While Duke is in its 13th Final Four, Maryland heads to its first.

Duke beat Southern California 79-69 Saturday in the East Regional final. Maryland upset Stanford 87-73 in the West.

The teams squared off twice in the regular season and again in the ACC conference tournament. Duke won twice.

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