Duke's men proved their mettle in the Elite Eight.
The Blue Devils took on Baylor in the Bears' home state of Texas. A giant, pro-Baylor crowd helped the Bears' ride a surge of emotion to take a lead in the first half.
Duke came out after intermission, got back in the game, and quieted the crowd. Down the stretch when it sounded as though everyone in Reliant Stadium was screaming for the Blue Devils to lose and go homeDuke pulled out a close game.
Playing a road game in the tournament, in front of an arena filled with hostile fans, won't slow Duke.
UConn's women have a years-long winning streak that is keeping women's basketball in the Stone Age. Freshman Brittney Griner is the leader of the women's game's next generation of athletic, aggressive, instinctual superstars. The 6-foot-8 star can do things that no UConn player has ever been able to do ... and UConn's had great players.
It's Griner's time to bring some attitude, some hops and some of the intimidation factor that evens things when one team has superior talent.
Duke's men won't be thrown by the pressure of the national semifinal or the fact that everyone in the arena will be screaming, loudly, for them to lose to West Virginia. The Blue Devils beat Baylor in Texas. They play in the national spotlight all the time. And, love them or hate them, the Blue Devils have played their best basketball down the stretch.
Duke will beat West Virginia in a close game, 67-62, to advance to the title game.
CBS will get it's dream match because Butler's got a home game and a talent edge on Michigan State in the other semifinal. Even the Spartans Tom Izzo can't coach away a homecourt advantage and Butler's superior skill.
Butler will beat Michigan State 61-55 to set up a David vs. Goliath matchup on Monday night. Forget that Butler's nationally-ranked and has all the talent in the world. It's a small school that gets about one-third the national attention Duke gets.
Duke will win the championship game in the face of the biggest homecourt advantage any title game team has ever had. Butler's going to have a home game...in the title game. The Blue Devils will win 69-61.
Griner's going to make UConn wish coach Geno Auriemma hadn't made it so clear he's more worried about his program's legacy more than he's worried about beating Baylor. (For more on this matchup, see www.BayAreaSportsReport.com).
In a game that will change women's basketball, Baylor will slip past UConn 57-53. Griner will block some shots and UConn will want nothing to do with her. It will become a perimeter shooting contest until the fab frosh establishes herself in the post.
Stanford's women will beat Oklahoma, 62-55.
When Stanford trips Baylor 60-53 in the championship game, women's basketball will be on the road to making critics forget that one of the Elite Eight games turned on two missed wide-open layups. The Xavier player missed. It happens. It just never happens in the men's game and it made millions of fans mumble, "That's why I never pay attention to women's basketball."
After Griner gets two games in the national spotlight and Stanford wins another title, the game will be back on track.