March 29th, 2010
12:15 PM ET

Sports Update: Duke battles Baylor (again), Butler streak

Last night the Duke men were able to knock off Baylor. Tonight, the Duke ladies take their shot at the Baylor women.

With a determined effort over a gritty Baylor team yesterday, the Duke men’s basketball team advanced to the Final Four for the first time since 2004. As SI.com’s Andy Staples points out, the oldest of the Blue Devils were sophomores in high school the last time Duke cut down nets after a region final.” The Duke women have enjoyed more recent success – they lost in the national championship game in 2006 – and can earn another berth in the Final Four with a win over (yes, you guessed it) Baylor. A pair of women’s Elite Eight games highlight a full day in sports (all times Eastern):

-No. 4 Baylor vs. No. 2 Duke (ESPN, 7:00 p.m.)
The next great star in the women’s game is Baylor freshman center Brittney Griner, who scored 27 points and blocked 10 shots in leading the fourth-seeded Bears to a 77-62 win over top-seeded Tennessee.  Duke is led by junior guard Jasmine Thomas who matched her career-high with 29 points and finished with five rebounds, six assists and five steals in a win over San Diego State. The winner has a date with Connecticut (barring a stunning loss to Florida State on Tuesday).

-Nuggets at Mavericks (NBA TV, 8:30 p.m.)
Regular season games won’t get much bigger than tonight’s Western Conference showdown. The teams are separated by a half game, with Dallas (48-25) slightly ahead of Denver (48-26). Last night the Nuggets lost for the fourth time in five games "We definitely have to get this one against Dallas,” Denver guard J.R. Smith told NBA.com. “We want that two spot. We want to secure the home court until the Western Conference Finals when we plan on playing the Lakers."

No. 3 Xavier vs. No. 1 Stanford (ESPN, 9:07 PM)

Look for some serious interior play with Stanford’s frontline of 6-foot-4 All-America senior center Jayne Appel, 6-foot-4 junior forward Kayla Pedersen and 6-foot-2 rising  sophomore star Nnemkadi Ogwumike against Xavier’s talented post duo of 6-foot-6 senior center Ta’Shia Phillips, and 6-foot-5 junior forward Amber Harris. Phillips and Harris combined for 36 points and 24 rebounds in a win over Gonzaga, and they’ll need to be even better to knick off Stanford; the Cardinal’s only loss this season is against UConn.

BY THE NUMBERS

26 - Blocks for Griner during this year’s NCAA tournament, second only to Duke’s Alison Bales who set the NCAA tournament record with 30 in 2006.

24 - Consecutive games won by the Butler men’s basketball team. The Bulldogs last lost at Alabama-Birmingham on Dec. 22,

22 million - Combined salary the Tigers will pay pitchers Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson this season. Last year the duo finished a combined 3-7 with a 6.26 ERA.

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