Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Villanova/Duke Rivalry History - March 19, 1978 - NCAA Tournament East Regional Final

To the Villanova Wildcats faithful-

This week - in addition to previewing the Sweet 16 contest between the Villanova Wildcats and the Duke Blue Devils - I'll be looking back at the ten previous games in which Villanova has met Duke.

Other entries in the Villanova/Duke Rivalry History -

You can read about the November 14, 2000, Preseason NIT meeting at Cameron Indoor Stadium...

You can read about #14 Duke wrecking the then-CoreStates Center debut, defeating #4 Villanova, on December 14, 1996...

March 19, 1978 - NCAA Tournament, East Regional Final (Elite Eight) - Providence, Rhode Island - Duke 90, Villanova 72

This was the third time - and until this week, the most recent - meeting between the two schools in the NCAA tournament. It was a remarkable confluence for the Big Five, as Villanova defeated La Salle, 103-97, in first round action at the Palestra. Travelling to Providence, the Wildcats narrowly got past Indiana in the second round, 61-60, before facing Duke there.

For their part, the Blue Devils had eked out a 63-62 victory over Rhode Island in Charlotte in the first round, behind 25 points from Mike Gminski. On St. Patrick's Day, they also had gone to Providence, where they had topped Penn (then a power), 84-80, with a pair of Blue Devils scoring 21 points. And so the Wildcats and Blue Devils met in the equivalent of the Elite Eight.

On March 19, Duke had no trouble getting past the Wildcats, 90-72. The Wildcats on the team included, inter alia, Alex Bradley, Keith Herron, Reggie Robinson, Rory Sparrow, and one Robert Rigsby (better known to the Villanova Wildcats faithful as "Whitey" Rigsby, the team's radio color analyst). Jim Spanarkel (also, now well known as a color analyst) led Duke with 23 points, as they advanced to the Final Four. In addition to Spanarkel and Gminski, the other Duke standout on that team was Gene Banks.

This was under Coach K's predecessor, Bill Foster; Coach K arrived in 1980-81. Foster took the Blue Devils past Notre Dame in the national semifinals in St. Louis, but fell to Kentucky in the national championship.

Check back for more posts, both on the history of Villanova/Duke, and a comprehensive preview of Thursday's Sweet 16 contest, scheduled for around 10 PM in Boston...

You can also take a look at the Various Viewpoints on the right sidebar, for their takes...

Go Wildcats!

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