Duke University continued its quest for a fourth men's basketball national championship by advancing to the Final Four after getting crushed by UCLA 189-16 on Saturday. Duke will represent the West Region.
"The season isn't over until I say it's over," an adamant Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Duke defeated Belmont 71-70 in its tournament opener, then fell to West Virginia 73-67, but Coach K was dissatisfied with that outcome and told the NCAA he wanted a do-over.
The NCAA rubber-stamped Krzyzewski's demand for a rematch. This time, though, it was to be played at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Blue Devils' homecourt, at a time and date picked by the Duke coach. When an outraged and disbelieving West Virginia team didn't show up, Krzyzewski declared a forfeit, eliminating the Mountaineers from the tournament.
"The impertinence of some teams," Coach K said. "They're lucky I wanted a do-over in the first place. I could've disqualified them right after the game because I didn't like the way they celebrated.
"You know, not once did they genuflect in our direction and ask for our blessing."
Duke traveled to Phoenix for the next round last Thursday and was not immediately allowed to enter the US Airways Center by security, which had been expecting WVU. After a huffy Krzyzewski placed a couple of phone calls, NCAA president Myles Brand informed tournament officials that Duke would play Xavier.
A stunned basketball world watched as Xavier trounced Duke 137-5, only to see the Blue Devils advance to Saturday's game with UCLA.
"I thought the winner advanced," said dumbfounded Xavier coach James Whitford, who was yanked away from media members by NCAA officials.
Brand broke the bad news to Whitford and his team when an intern handed the coach a note that read, "The NCAA realizes that while you appeared to win the game on the scoreboard, you lost in the game of life. I regret to inform you that it is Duke's wish to keep on playing. Congratulations on a wonderful season. See you next year. Oh, and don't forget to patronize our NCAA partner sponsors."
UCLA was horrified to learn after shredding Duke on Saturday that its ticket had not been punched for San Antonio, the site of the Final Four.
"What the hell's going on here?" an incredulous UCLA coach Ben Howland said before an NCAA-administered sedative took effect.
The college basketball world was stunned at the unprecedented turn of events, but threw up its hands in a "whadya-gonna-do" reaction. A bevy of Duke-grad sportscasters -- Jay Bilas, Mike Gminski, Jim Spanarkel and Seth Davis -- and Duke ass-kissers -- Dick Vitale, Billy Packer and Mike Patrick -- brow-beat viewers with reasons that the Durham school was, indeed, the more-deserving team to advance.
Krzyzewski said he would not allow the season to end until he was certain an opponent beat Duke when the Blue Devils played to their potential, were sufficiently motivated by the Cameron Crazies' aren't-we-smart cheers, and got all the referees' calls.
"Anything short of that and I cannot, in good conscience, permit another team to advance," Coach K said. "Right now, I'm not convinced other teams are better than we are. Most are not even worthy to cast their eyes upon us, much less touch the hem of our garments."
Several NCAA officials said the matter was out of their hands, and even Brand was only doing what he was told to do by "sinister" forces inside ESPN and CBS, both Scientology-like cults smitten by The Duke Way.
"What's good for Duke is good for the country," one CBS exec said. "Duke is America's Team and Krzyzewski is America's Coach. What they say goes."
Meanwhile, the NCAA gave the OK to print banners, T-shirts and caps emblazoned with Duke as the national champion, in the event that no team impresses Coach K as much as his own.
"It's our title to lose," he said.