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Our Favorite Duke Trips To The Final Four

These are a few of our favorite rings...

Shane Battier's second trip to the Final Four was a study in intensity and effort.
Shane Battier's second trip to the Final Four was a study in intensity and effort.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It's a bit early for this question, but where does this trip to the Final Four (getting there as opposed to the outcome) rank?

We're really only dealing with the Krzyzewski era, but we'll add 1978. We'd have to get other people to comment on the Bubas era. They're all listed below.

  • 1963
  • 1964
  • 1966
  • 1978
  • 1986
  • 1988
  • 1989
  • 1990
  • 1991
  • 1992
  • 1994
  • 1999
  • 2001
  • 2004
  • 2010
  • 2015

For us, our favorites - this is like picking between your children - are 1978, 2010, 1988, 1992 and 2001.

1978 remains singular because of how that team got hot and rode it all the way to the title game. 2010 was amazing because of how thin that team was and the adjustments made by Coach K, in particular moving Jon Scheyer to the point. Seeing Brian Zoubek become a really good, if limited big man at the very end of his career was incredible.

1988 was great because that team had some limitations. It was amazing to watch that group struggle on offense and then claw back in through defense. It got to be a predictable pattern. Plus it had Billy King, and King was probably Duke's best-ever defender. He could barely hit a layup - he could do everything else, play point in a pinch - but the guy just couldn't shoot. But he could tie people in knots and watching him, along with Robert Brickey playing the post at 6-5  - that team was amazing.

In 1992, of course, Duke made the Final Four after The Shot by Christian Laettner, so that whole week was just a long, slow glorious glide back to reality.

And in 2001, watching Shane Battier and Jason Williams hit, really, the highest levels of excellence that were possible for them was unbelievably satisfying - not to mention Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy and Nate James.

As we said, we'd have to defer to others for the Bubas era, but what we love about what we know about it is the sense of fun which still seems to swirl around "King" Arthur Heyman. Heyman still seems to embody the work hard play hard ethos at Duke.

This team's journey has been completely different because it's so young and bold. Who could have imagined starting three freshmen and getting to the Final Four? It's an astounding thing and even more remarkable because the freshmen have become leaders.