basketball-men-d1 flag | March 21, 2015

Krzyzewski vs. Fisher: Some things never change

Starting Lineup: Hoosier State pride

The top storyline on Sunday -- aside from the Sweet 16 field being determined -- is the Duke-San Diego State game.

The game is a postseason rematch of coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Steve Fisher, who went head to head in the 1992 national championship game as Duke defeated the Michigan "Fab Five." The nearly 23-year gap will be the longest between tournament meetings for head coaches in NCAA history, according to STATS.

Like Coach K and Fisher, the more things change, the more they stay the same. History has a way of repeating itself, and here are a few throwbacks that will have a familiar look and feel:

1992 Duke Blue DevilsCoach's K's 1992 national title team
• The Most Outstanding Player of the 1992 NCAA tournament was Duke's Bobby Hurley. His Buffalo Bulls made their inaugural tournament appearance this year, losing to West Virginia 68-62 on Friday. (Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins was at the helm of Cincinnati in 1992, and lost to Fisher's UM team in the Final Four.)

• Hurley and Duke wouldn't have made it to Minneapolis if it hadn't been for The Shot. In the East Regional final in Philadelphia, the Blue Devils trailed Kentucky 103-102 with 2.1 seconds remaining. With the inbounds pass, Grant Hill threw the ball the length of the court to Christian Laettner, who dribbled once, turned and ... well, you know the ending of arguably the greatest NCAA tournament game. Yes, the same Grant Hill who is on your TV giving analysis and the same Christian Laettner on your TV lounging in a sweet nothing-but-net hammock.

• But before Duke could stick a dagger into the Wildcats' collective hearts, UK and head coach Rick Pitino dispatched UMass and head coach John Calipari in the Sweet 16. ... In fact, 24 teams that made the 1992 tournament are in the 2015 tournament, and with a little luck, Pitino and Calipari could face each other for the championship. But of those two-dozen programs, only Krzyzewski is the constant; the other 23 have someone else as coach.

• Two other bluebloods -- Kansas and North Carolina -- also were in the 1992 tournament field. Roy Williams was KU's coach, and Dean Smith led the Tar Heels. Almost a quarter century later, Williams is now at UNC, which mourned the loss of Smith on Feb. 7.

• But enough about history. After all, no Duke player was born by April 6, 1992, and three SDSU players were less than 6 months old.

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