INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Duke is doing its part to keep pace in its arms race on Tobacco Road.
The Blue Devils play Butler on Monday night in the national championship game, and a win would bring consecutive NCAA titles to the North Carolina Triangle for the first time in 17 years.
The last time Duke and rival North Carolina claimed back-to-back championships was in 1992 and '93, when the Tar Heels followed Duke's second straight title with their second under coach Dean Smith.
North Carolina won last year's title — and the Blue Devils, with their campus situated 8 miles north of Chapel Hill, couldn't help but hear all about it.
"I didn't watch a whole lot of the Final Four" last year, Duke guard Jon Scheyer said. "It was tough for me to watch. ... I couldn't have told you exactly how it would be this year. But you know, for us, this is where we expected to be this year. This is the position we wanted to be in. We're going to make the most of it."
If the Blue Devils beat the Bulldogs, they will add to an already lengthy list of accomplishments for two of college basketball's most storied programs.
At least one of the programs has reached the Final Four in 15 of the past 20 years, and already the Blue Devils and North Carolina have claimed three titles apiece during that stretch. That's one more than any other conference — the Southeastern Conference has won five titles since 1991.
SERVICE STOPPER: Gordon Hayward thought he'd be able to sneak back to his hometown church for Easter services without causing a stir. Boy, was he wrong.
"Me and Garrett (Butcher) couldn't really get out of there," Hayward said. "People were swarming us. You don't really get that at church."
But all of Indiana — the whole country, really — is going gaga for Butler, which plays Duke for the national title Monday night. The Indianapolis school has just 4,200 students, making it the smallest to appear in the title game since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
The Bulldogs know they're popular — even their English bulldog mascot Blue II has become a celebrity — but Hayward was still surprised by the reaction at Messiah Lutheran Church in his hometown of Brownsburg.
"It was weird because I was signing (autographs) on the church program," Hayward said.
Still, it was nice to get back home, however briefly. Well, nice for Hayward, perhaps. His roommate, Ronald Nored, wasn't so enthusiastic about the trip when Hayward's alarm went off and he turned on the lights a little after 7 a.m. Sunday.
"He was kind of cranky, for sure," Hayward said. "He was definitely all for sleeping in."
IMPRESSIVE LIST: He's already beaten Jim Boeheim and Tom Izzo in this tournament. Now Butler coach Brad Stevens gets to match wits with Mike Krzyzewski.
"The best way I can put it is, they write books and I get to read them," the 33-year-old Stevens cracked.
Countered Coach K: "I've already put in a pre-order for HIS book."
Stevens, the coaching whiz-kid, admitted he's flattered that he even gets to shake hands with those coaching stars. But he insisted that the victories over Boeheim's Syracuse team in the round of 16 and Izzo-led Michigan State in the Final Four was because of the players on the court, not anyone on the sideline.
"If it's just me against them, we're in trouble," Stevens said. "It's not the case. It's Butler beating those teams. We just have to all work together. We've been fortunate to win those games. It has very little to do with me. It has a lot to do with these guys going out there and giving it everything they've got."
GRADUATION RATES: Count Georgetown coach John Thompson III among those who disagree with a proposal by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to bar men's basketball teams from postseason play if they fail to graduate 40 percent of their players.
Thompson, speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," said he agrees that schools should be held accountable but a "blanket number" doesn't account for variables at each school.
"I agree that it's my responsibility as a coach, it's the institution's responsibility to ensure that your student athletes are progressing toward a degree," Thompson said. "But the circumstances under which a young man playing for Georgetown can get that may be significantly different than at school X. We may have more resources. We may have the ability to help that young man once he gets to our institution.
"And also, a large part of the kids' inspiration, a large part of their reason for doing well in school and staying in it is because they have that carrot, the opportunity to participate in the NCAA tournament," he added. "If you take that away, they might not stay as focused."
BIGGER MEANS BETTER: Stevens wouldn't mind seeing the NCAA tournament expand.
He calls his Bulldogs, who are playing in their fourth straight tournament, "the most fortunate program in the world ... (because) every guy on our team has played in nothing but an NCAA tournament.
"They've had unbelievable experiences," he said. "It is the best experience you can have as a college basketball player. So if more kids get to experience that, I am all for that."
The NCAA is considering whether to expand to an 80- or 96-team format from the current 65-team tournament.
HOOPS HALL: With the college basketball world focusing on the state, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame opened its doors on Easter Sunday for the first time.
Assistant director Sharon Roberts said about 30 people visited the facility in New Castle, Ind., about an hour's drive east of Lucas Oil Stadium, site of the Final Four.
"That's really good, for us," she said.
She said fans arrived wearing apparel from West Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington State, Utah and Pennsylvania. But there weren't any people wearing gear from Butler, the home-state favorite.
HAYWARD FAN: During his run to the title at the Sony Ericsson Open, tennis star Andy Roddick has found to time to enjoy Butler's run.
At the request of a friend who's an Indianapolis sports writer, Roddick left a voicemail message for Hayward on Tuesday. Hayward played tennis in high school and is a Roddick fan.
"It was a no-brainer," Roddick said after winning Sunday's final at Key Biscayne, Fla. "It was cool. I was glad to see them win (Saturday) night. It's a really cool story. ... I'm a sports junkie. I've been watching it nonstop."
Who's Roddick picking in Monday night's title game between Butler and Duke?
"Oh, don't put me on the spot after that long tribute to Butler," he said with a smile.
MIRROR IMAGE: Duke forward Kyle Singler stands 6-foot-8, weighs 230 pounds and is comfortable either creating a shot or pulling up from the perimeter.
Sounds awfully familiar to Hayward — who's 6-8, 230 and plays the same way.
"I think we both do kind of some similar things," Hayward said. "He's obviously a great player. For me, I don't know if it's me matching up vs. him. I think it's our team matching up against him. We're going to have to take away what he likes to do, and that's going to be a team effort."
FEAR THE BEARD: Hayward hasn't shaved since before the West Regional final against Kansas State on March 27.
So how's the beard coming?
Not so well.
The baby-faced sophomore who looks more like a high school sophomore still doesn't have much noticeable growth, even after a week.
"There's a little scruff there," he said, rubbing his chin. "It's better to look young than old, I guess."
VOICES OF EXPERIENCE: Three members of Krzyzewski's staff played in national championship games as players with the Blue Devils.
Associate head coach Chris Collins was on the Duke team that lost to Arkansas in the 1994 title game, assistant Nate James played for the school's most recent title-winning team in 2001 and graduate assistant Chris Carrawell played in the championship loss to Connecticut in 1999.
"Just the value of being a former player helps me because I'm a lot older than these guys," said the 63-year-old Krzyzewski. "So they can relate what it was to play at Duke, play for me, go to school at Duke and then go through the experiences that they've gone through."
MEMORY LANE: Darnell Archey will always remember his first game against Duke — for all the wrong reasons.
Butler got blown out 80-60 in 2003, Archey's senior season, and he wasn't as proficient from 3-point range as he would have liked. What still bothers him, though, was that he couldn't shut up the Duke fans, who targeted the smallish sharpshooter with the constant chant of Smeagol, a reference to the frail, balding character in "Lord of the Rings."
"Thanks for reminding me of that," Archey said this week, looking at the floor. "I didn't take that too well, so I made a couple of 3s to let them know I had heard them. It was all in good fun. Hey, if the Cameron Crazies chant at you, you must be doing something right."
That 2003 Bulldogs team eventually reached the regional semifinals and Archey, now the director of basketball operations for Butler, thinks this season's team is better equipped to match up with the Blue Devils than the one that played in Durham, N.C., seven years ago.
"In '03, I remember they switched on every screen possible," Archey recalled. "I'm not sure you can do that against these guys."
RAMMER JAMMER BULLDOG HAMMER: Butler guard Ronald Nored grew up in Alabama and remains a die-hard Crimson Tide football fan.
And he understands that this type of title-game pairing, against a powerhouse like Duke, would be virtually impossible in college football because of the Bowl Championship Series process.
"I think this is what makes college basketball great — we can recruit guys and we can get guys just like any other university," Nored said. "We can compete with guys just like any other university. I think it's tough in football just because of the size and the physicalness and the skill can be such a difference between a team like Alabama and another team.
"In saying that, Alabama got beat by Louisiana-Lafayette two years ago," he added. "And I almost cried."
AP Sports Writers John Marshall, Nancy Armour, Steven Wine, Aaron Beard and Michael Marot contributed to this report.