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Sunday, April 6, 2003
Updated: April 8, 2:14 AM ET

Big semifinal win doesn't assure national title

ESPN.com

Winning big in the national semifinals still isn't worth much in the finals.

We went back to years and found that a team winning by 14 points or more in the semis. It isn't pretty for Saturday's big winners -- none have gone on to win the title.

2003: Kansas
The results: Arizona def. Marquette 94-61 in semis; lost to Syracuse 81-78 in title game.
Why it happened: In the semis, the Jayhawks slammed Marquette in the biggest blowout in 24 years. But in the finals, the Jayhawks fell behind by 18 points in the first half and rallied to within three late in the game. But a potential game-tying 3-pointer by Michael Lee missed at the buzzer.


2001: Arizona
The results: Arizona def. Michigan State 80-61 in semis; lost to Duke 82-72 in title game.
Why it happened: In the semis, freshmen Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas combined for 33 points on 10 of 18 shooting from the field. In the finals, they were a combined 6-for-28 with 17 points as Duke won thanks to a second-half blitz.


1990: Duke
The results: Duke def. Arkansas 97-83 in semis; lost to UNLV 103-72 in title game.
Why it happened: Duke was able outgun Arkansas in a high-flying semi. But in the final, they got a taste of their own medicine -- Anderson Hunt (29 points), Larry Johnson (22), Greg Anthony (13) and Stacey Augmon (12) led a UNLV team that scored more points than any team in title game history.


1989: Seton Hall
The results: Seton Hall def. Duke 95-78 in semis; lost to Michigan 80-79 in title game.
Why it happened: The Hall was balanced in the semis, with four players in double figures (led by Andrew Gaze with 20 points). In the final, John Morton scored 35 points; the rest of the team had 44 as Michigan won in overtime.


1987: Syracuse
The results: Syracuse def. Providence 77-63 in semis; lost to Indiana 74-73 in title game.
Why it happened: Derrick Coleman, Rony Seikaly and Sherman Douglas had enough balance to eliminate fellow Big East member Providence on Saturday, but Keith Smart's jumper with five seconds left deprived them (and Jim Boeheim) of the title.


1985: Georgetown
The results: Georgetown def. St. John's 77-59 in semis; lost to Villanova 66-64 in title game
Why it happened: The Hoyas seemed invincible and were heavily favored after beating Redmen, but Dwayne McClain, Ed Pickney, Harold Pressley and Harold Jensen pulled off the shocking upset for the sixth-seeded Wildcats in the title game.



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