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Obama watches Georgetown knock off Duke in a riveting atmosphere reminiscent of 2006

No. 7 Georgetown hands No. 8 Duke an 89-77 defeat in front of President Obama and a sold out Verizon Center.

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By Mike Wise
Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mike "Whenever Duke Shows Up It's a Big Game" Krzyzewski and John "Don't Make Too Much of Today" Thompson III didn't go all ga-ga over 40 measly minutes.

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Forty measly minutes that were, oh, televised by CBS, called by their No. 1 announcing crew, attended by the world's most prominent pickup 'baller and witnessed by more than 20,000 gray-clad souls who howled for their Hoyas until the final horn -- and then some.

Forty measly minutes, around which the most enthralling basketball atmosphere imaginable revolved Saturday afternoon.

They don't have to go ga-ga, but we will.

Georgetown's utter dismantling of Duke at Verizon Center was simply the most riveting basketball spectacle in downtown Washington in almost four years.

This arena has not been as charged, partisan, star-powered and deafening for a college game since the slipper fit George Mason against top-seeded Connecticut in an NCAA tournament region final almost four Marches ago. Before that, you need to go back a few months to the day Georgetown's ascent under Big John's son genuinely began, when the unranked, NIT-or-bust Hoyas knocked off the No. 1 Blue Devils, the students stormed the floor and a program was reborn. (Although Roy Hibbert's three-pointer to knock off U-Conn. in 2008 was pretty loud.)

By the time Greg Monroe, Chris Wright and Austin Freeman combined for 62 points and their teammates had outplayed, outmuscled and outsmarted Kyle Singler, Jon Scheyer and their defensively challenged crew, Krzyzewski's program had played the villain to the hilt again.

Then and now, 2006 and Saturday, the Dookies sure know how to make the kids on the Hilltop feel good about their lives, no?

What a lineup Saturday: J.T. III and Coach K matching wits on the sideline; Monroe and Wright facing off against Singler and Scheyer on the floor; Clark Kellogg and Verne Lundquist calling the game; and the most powerful duo of all -- President Obama and Vice President Biden -- taking in the scene at courtside.

Talk about power couples.

The basketball was sloppy at times, but Wright kept his head and smartly went against his shoot-first-pass-later nature, settling the offense. Monroe didn't get pushed around inside by Duke's bigs like he did at the Carrier Dome on Monday; he was as strong as he was skilled. And Freeman was steady and accurate, the confidence in his stroke and game improving almost each possession.

The hyper-focused coaches were right about the game not defining their seasons. Both teams will win 20 or more games and make their annual pilgrimage to the NCAA tournament in March.


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