In a bit of a surprise, both Stanford and Iowa have advanced in
the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic or Tournament or whatever they are callling
it.Â Iowa played superbly in knocking
off a UConn team doubtless distracted by the media frenzy around Khalid El-Amin's
car question and also less than 100% due to Kevin Freeman's back injury.Â
But there's no question that both Iowa and Stanford deserved to advance; both
played intelligent basketball, and Iowa, in particular, played with great
passion and fire.Â No knock on Stanford, but Iowa was lightly regarded
coming in, and Steve Alford has made quite a splashy debut.
UConn has just learned the first lesson of being champions: you
don't get to rest, not for one second, not for one play, not for one game.Â
Everyone is out to get you, and the pressure just builds as the year goes on.
Stanford got this last year in miniature when the general feeling was they'd
certainly get back to the Final Four.Â Â
Here's a quick list of Duke versus defending national champs
over the years.
1998:Â Duke 70 Kentucky 61
1997:Â Duke 92 Arizona 84Â
1995:Â Duke over UCLAÂ
1991:Â Duke 79 UNLV 77
1990:Â Michigan 113 Duke 108 OT
1989:Â Duke 102 Kansas 77
1965:Â DukeÂ 82 UCLA 66
1965:Â Duke 94 UCLA 75