INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 03: (L-R) Brian Zoubek #55 and Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils react late in the second half against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the National Semifinal game of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 3, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Final Four: Duke Rolls, 78-57, Will Face Butler For National Championship

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Final Four: Duke Rolls, 78-57, Will Face Butler For National Championship

For more on today's game, read our West Virginia blog at The Smoking Musket.

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Jon Scheyer made five of Duke's 13 three- pointers, pacing the Blue Devils to a thorough 78-57 drubbing of West Virginia in dominant Final Four showing from the perennial powers.

Duke (34-5), the only No. 1 seed to reach Lucas Oil Stadium, shot 13-of-25 from behind the arc to come away with the surprisingly comfortable victory in its first national semifinal since 2004.

Scheyer had 23 points and six assists, while Kyle Singler chipped in 21 points and nine rebounds for the Blue Devils, who will seek their fourth national championship on Monday against hometown favorite Butler, a 52-50 winner over Michigan State in Saturday's other semifinal.

Nolan Smith donated 19 points and six helpers for the victors.

West Virginia (31-7), already without starting point guard Darryl Bryant (foot), lost the services of leading scorer Da'Sean Butler to a leg injury with nine minutes left in regulation.

Joe Mazzulla, who scored a career-high 17 points in an upset win over Kentucky in the East Regional final, was held in check with four points as the Mountaineers had their 10-game winning streak snapped in impressive fashion.


Da'Sean Butler Suffers Knee Injury

West Virginia’s Final Four game has taken a horrible turn for the worse. Not only is Duke leading by double digits, but midway through the second half, star forward Da’Sean Butler suffered what appears to be a serious knee injury.

On a drive to the basket, Butler planted while bracing to make contact with Brian Zoubek. Butler’s left knee buckled as it happened, and he was on the ground in obvious pain for minutes afterward. He has not appeared to put any weight on the leg.

Now, with a 15-point deficit, scant few minutes to play, and their leader in the locker room, the Mountaineers must conjure up a superhuman level of effort if they want to make the game competitive.


Halftime Break: It's Duke's Game To Lose

After 20 minutes, it’s looking a lot like Duke and Butler (who is a mid-major Duke, in that they’re just bursting at the seams with white people) will be in Monday’s championship game. Duke holds a 39-31 advantage, and it actually seems like it could have been worse.

Duke broke the game wide open with a 15-4 run late in the first half, raining threes on a powerless West Virginia defense. To the Mountaineers’ credit, they hung in after the spree, scoring seven of the half’s last nine points to keep things respectable going into the locker room.

For West Virginia, their task is simple yet daunting: keep Duke off the offensive glass. Both teams are shooting the ball well, around .500 in each case, and the fouls and turnovers are evenly and acceptably low on both sides of the court. It’s just that Duke has four more attempts and three more makes, and that’s why they’re up at the half.

Also, West Virginia should probably try to get more than two points out of Da’Sean Butler in the second half, because if he can’t get going, the rest of the team probably won’t be able to bring the ’Eers back without downright magical improvement on defense and on the glass.


Yahoo! Is Clearly Biased Against Duke

Here's the way Yahoo! Sports described the play that immediately preceded the under-8 media timeout:


Here's how we, having actually witnessed the play, would describe it:


Plumlee swatted Smith's shot into next week, if by "next week" we mean "the Duke bench area." That meant, technically, that West Virginia got a team offensive rebound. But considering what an important stat offensive rebounds are, can't we just not award them to teams who get weak shots obliterated out of play?


Early On, Duke Looking Flat-Out Better

West Virginia is hitting their shots, and they’re still down. Not good.

It’s because Duke’s also hitting their shots, plus they’re gathering offensive rebounds; Duke has five in the first 11 minutes of the game. Duke beat Baylor by dominating on the offensive glass and second-chance points; West Virginia cannot afford to give them that same advantage. Which is, of course, exactly what West Virginia is doing.


Final Four, 8:47 P.M.: Duke Hopes To Beat West Virginia, Make Rest Of America Resent Them Even More

Saturday night's second Final Four game is scheduled to start at 8:47 P.M., when top-seeded Duke takes on 2-seed West Virginia. Here's a preview, courtesy of our own Chris Dobbertean.

This one doesn't have quite as many off-the-court storylines as game one, but there are still a few things worth mentioning.

In their look at West VirginiaDuke Basketball Report thinks that while this matchup may be pretty even, the Mountaineers can't expect things to go as smoothly as they did against Kentucky last Saturday.

A long time before this game, we said it was clear to us that Kentucky would have some issues at some point in the tournament, that they have not yet faced game pressure and that it wasn't clear what they would do when they did.

West Virginia exploited those issues brilliantly, and their 1-3-1 zone, which featured Devin Ebanks, Butler, Jones and Flowers at different times, presented what amounted to a wall, no pun intended, against Kentucky's penetration. The Wildcats came in as a weak three-point shooting team and nothing changed in this game. They simply couldn't adjust.

And while it's difficult to extrapolate from one game to the next, it seems to us reasonable to think that a more experienced team would have played West Virginia a little better.

Our Mountaineer blog, The Smoking Musket, counters by saying that all the factors are there for WVU to knock the Blue Devils out once again: an ignored man defense, the ability to make shots inside, a good chance at shutting down Duke's scorers, and general team character.

It's Duke. We all saw what happened when WVU hit Duke in the mouth in Washington, DC two years ago. They fell down. Over and over again. Tough, scrappy players like Joe Mazzulla can have a field day against Duke. They're designed to stop more finesse teams from the ACC, not bruising, resourceful teams like West Virginia. We can match them athletically and defensively. And while they may have more size on the inside, it's not the type of size that generally bothers the Mountaineers. Personally, I see the game playing out very similarly to the UK game, in which we frustrate the Blue Devils to the point of no return.

In terms of a pick, I'm going to start by looking at a line in that Duke Basketball Report post.

And while this is perhaps not exactly correct, Baylor in many respects was a great warm-up for West Virginia.

That means this one should be as competitive as last Sunday's South region final, but with one difference. A more veteran West Virginia team probably won't get as flustered at the end as the Bears did at the end of the game. That composure could be the difference tonight.

My pick: West Virginia by four

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