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NCAA FINAL

A Memorable Dance

Many of March's Best Moments Belonged to Pac-10, but Underdogs Such as Hampton and Temple Helped to Make the Tournament an Unpredictable Ride

April 03, 2001|CHRIS DUFRESNE | Times Staff Writer

1. DUKE WINS

Duke defeated Arizona to win its third national title, firmly securing Shane Battier's four-year legacy and Coach Mike Krzyzewski's place in history.

It was the third title for Krzyzewski, which ties him for third place on the all-time list with Bob Knight, who won three titles at Indiana.

Only UCLA's John Wooden, with 10, and Kentucky's Adolph Rupp, with four, have won more national titles.

Despite the school's dominance over the decade, Duke had not won a title since 1992. Krzyzewski was 2-4 in title games, but Monday's victory should now end all "legacy" questions.

Krzyzewski didn't need this win to be considered one of the great coaches in history, but the victory probably moves him past his mentor, Knight.

2. MARVELOUS MARV

Stanford guard Casey Jacobsen does not concede defeat easily. But after St. Joseph's junior guard Marvin O'Connor scored 37 points against him in a second-round game at San Diego, Jacobsen walked up to O'Connor and said, "It was a privilege to play with you on the court today."

Stanford won the game, but O'Connor stole the night. He made 15 of 20 shots and scored 29 points in the second half, which allowed St. Joseph's to almost pull off a major upset.

When O'Connor fouled out of the game with 11.9 seconds left, the Cox Arena crowd gave O'Connor a standing ovation.

3. HAMPTON IN

The television moment of the tournament came in the wake of Hampton's stunning first-round upset of Iowa State, when forward David Johnson wrapped his arms around Coach Steve Merfeld and carried him across the floor, then plopped him at the feet of analyst James Worthy.

Hampton, seeded No. 15, pulled off one of the tournament's greatest upsets with the 58-57 win over No. 2 Iowa State, a team many expected to advance to the West Regional final in Anaheim.

It was only the fourth time since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 that a No. 15 school had won an opening-round game.

It's a moment we'll never forget and one that Iowa State Coach Larry Eustachy would like to.

4. FIGHT ON

A funny thing happened on the way to restoring the school's vaunted football program.

A basketball program broke out.

USC, which hadn't made it past the second round since 1954 under Forrest Twogood, made a miraculous run to the East Regional final, scoring a historic win over Kentucky in the semifinal game before a 10-point loss to Duke.

Did anyone really see this coming? USC finished fourth in the Pacific 10 and was swept in conference by UCLA, Stanford and Arizona. Some of the so-called experts (me) had the Trojans losing in the first round to Oklahoma State. Instead, USC easily won its opener, then scored successive wins over Big East champion Boston College and Kentucky, winner of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

5. PAC-10 RISES

Not a bad year for the left-coast conference. In football, three Pac-10 teams finished in the top 10, with Washington (Rose) and Oregon State (Fiesta) winning two of the four bowl championship series games. It followed by placing five schools in the NCAA tournament for only the third time. Before Arizona's appearance in Monday night's title game, the Pac-10 owned the best tournament record at 13-4, advancing three schools--Stanford, USC and Arizona--to the Elite Eight for the first time in conference history.

6. 'ZAGS

The joke of this tournament was Gonzaga having to win the West Coast Conference title to make the field of 65, then getting handed a No. 12 seeding. Not much respect for a program that had won five tournament games the last two seasons and was the only school other than Duke, Florida and Michigan State to make successive Sweet 16 appearances.

Gonzaga's opening-round win over No. 5 Virginia in a first-round South Regional game was the biggest non-upset "upset" this year. The Zags followed up with a win over Indiana State to make it three Sweet 16 trips in as many years. The momentum died with a regional semifinal defeat to Michigan State, but the heart of the lineup, less Casey Calvary, returns next season.

You got that, selection committee?

7. GARY GETS HIS

Maryland Coach Gary Williams had a sweet career entering this year's tournament, but that was part of the problem. He had advanced six previous teams to the Sweet 16, but never beyond. Williams and Maryland broke through with a 78-65 upset over No. 1 Stanford in the West Regional final. It clinched the first Final Four trip for Williams and Maryland.

Maryland lost to Duke in the national semifinal game. Now, the questions turn to how Williams' team could blow a 22-point lead to Duke.

8. KNIGHT MOVES

Ousted and exiled former Indiana coach Bob Knight hasn't made this much noise in the NCAA tournament since 1993, the last time one of his teams advanced beyond the second round.

The news this year, though, came with the announcement that he would become coach at Texas Tech. Frankly, Bob, we were hoping you'd land somewhere a little more remote (just kidding).

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