Duke ready to return to Indy for Midwest Regional
Duke always seems to feel right at home in the heart of the Hoosier state.The Blue Devils have won six of seven NCAA tournament games played in Indianapolis and have won two national titles there. That includes their most recent championship in 2010 when the current seniors were freshmen.
A pair of victories there this weekend at the Midwest Regional would send them back to their first Final Four since then.
It starts Friday night when the second-seeded Blue Devils (29-5) take on third-seeded Michigan State (27-8) in a regional semifinal. The winner meets either top-seeded Louisville or 12th-seeded Oregon on Sunday with a spot in the Final Four on the line.
Mason Plumlee, an Indiana native whose older brother Miles plays for the Indiana Pacers, says he hasn't stepped foot inside Lucas Oil Stadium since the Blue Devils cut down the nets following their title-winning victory over Butler three years ago.
"I don't think that's going to win us the game, good karma," Plumlee said Wednesday.
Duke's first and its most recent national titles came in the Indiana capital, with the Christian Laettner- and Bobby Hurley-led team in 1991 beating Kansas for its first championship under Mike Krzyzewski.
The 2010 group topped Butler for title No. 4 two nights after the Bulldogs beat, coincidentally, Michigan State in a national semifinal. Plumlee had one rebound in three minutes in that game while fellow senior Ryan Kelly didn't play and Seth Curry sat out that season after transferring from Liberty.
Kelly and Curry — who have both fought injuries this season — should be healthy, Krzyzewski said.
Both practiced Wednesday before the team was scheduled to fly to Indianapolis. Kelly missed almost two months with an unspecified right foot injury while Curry has played through lingering shin pain all season.
"We have to be prepared, and we've got to push the envelope," Krzyzewski said.
There won't be much unfamiliarity for the Blue Devils in the matchup, either. This marks the third straight year Duke and Michigan State have played, with the Blue Devils winning in both 2010-11 and last season.
"You're going to have two excellent basketball teams playing against one another on a huge stage," Krzyzewski said. "Two of the best programs over the last long period of time, so it's a big-time game. Their guys are good. Our guys are good.
"It's going to be an honor being in such an elite game, and hopefully we can do well in it."