Duke Final Four History: Pop Culture edition

Posted April 1, 2015
Updated April 3, 2015

Duke forward Lance Thomas (42), middle, reacts on the sideline with teammates Duke guard Jon Scheyer (30), left, and Duke center Brian Zoubek (55), right, to their victory. Duke University defeats West Virginia, 78-57. Duke will face Butler for the NCAA Division I championship. Duke University faced West Virginia in the second semi-final game of the NCAA Final Four Division I Men's Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Saturday, April 3, 2010. (Sam Riche / The Indianapolis Star)

Duke University's men's basketball program has reached the Final Four a sweet 16 times. Let's take a look back at what was happening in the world of pop culture each year:


Duke's first Final Four appearance

Headlines: JFK was assassinated; Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech
​Music: Beattlemania was in full swing and the band released "I Want to Hold Your Hand" this year.
Movies: British comedy "Tom Jones" bests "Cleopatra" for the Academy Award for best picture


Duke loses in the finals to an undefeated UCLA team.

Headlines: The Civil Rights Act becomes law; Vietnam War rages on; the first Ford Mustang is made
Music: The Rolling Stones release debut album; Beatles make first appearance on "Ed Sullivan Show"
Movies: "My Fair Lady" wins best picture at the Academy Awards and Sidney Poitier wins Academy Award for best actor, the first black man to do so.


UTEP claims the championship. Duke loses it the semi-finals to Kentucky.

Headlines: Anti-Vietnam War protests take place across the country; The Miranda Rights come into being; the mini-skirt becomes popular.
TV: Star Trek airs first episode; "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" cartoon adaptation airs for first time
Music: The Monkees, The Mamas and Papas, Beach Boys and Simon and Garfunkel are all popular
Movies: Popular films included "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Dr. Zhivago"


Duke loses to Kentucky in the finals.

Headlines: Son of Sam is sentenced to prison; Director Roman Polanski flees to France before being sentenced for rape;
Music: The Bee Gees, The Commodores and Paul McCartney and Wings are popular
Movies: Popular films included "Animal House," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Grease" and "Saturday Night Fever"


Duke loses in the finals to Louisville.

Headlines: Estimated 7 million people hold hands for "Hands Across America;" Mike Tyson becomes youngest heavyweight champion in history; Rutan Voyager aircraft makes first non-stop flight around the world without refueling; Space shuttle Challenge explodes after launch killing all on board.
Music: Billy Joel, Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Van Halen, Madonna and The Police are all popular
Movies: "Top Gun," "Crocodile Dundee" and "Platoon" are box office hits


Kansas claims the title after topping Duke in the semifinals.

Headlines: The new drug, crack, hits the scene; U.S. Space Shuttle program resumes after Challenger disaster; the anti-depressant Prozac is introduced
Music: U2, Michael Jackson, Robert Palmer, George Michael and Guns N Roses are all on the charts
Movies: Popular films included "Rain Man," "Die Hard" and "Big"


Another year, another Final Four appearance. But Michigan would win this year and Duke would once again lose in the semi-final game.

Headlines: George H.W. Bush becomes president; Toyota launches the Lexus brand; Mirage is the first huge resort hotel to open in Las Vegas; Exxon Valdez oil spill happens in Alaska; Nintendo releases Gameboy
Music: New Kids on the Block, Duran Duran, Phil Collins and Cher
Movies: "Batman," "Dead Poets Society," "When Harry Met Sally"


UNLV bests Duke in the finals.

Headlines: Nelson Mandela is released from prison; "The Simpsons" air on Fox for the first time; "Twin Peaks" airs on ABC
Music: Bon Jovi, Tears for Fears and Janet Jackson
Movies: "Home Alone," "Ghost," "Pretty Woman," and "Dances with Wolves"


Duke wins first National Championship

Headlines: The phrase "going postal" comes into being after a former New Jersey postal worker kills his ex-girlfriend and three others are his old post office; Video captures Rodney King being beated by police in California; Internet is available for noncommercial computers
Music: Grunge is born with Nirvanan's debut album "Nevermind;" Pearl Jam, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson also are topping the charts
Movies: "Thelma and Louise," "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day"


Duke repeats as champion

Headlines: Euro Disney opens in France; Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the country, is built in Minnesota; Bill Clinton becomes president; Riots break out after officers are acquitted in Rodney King beating case: AT&T releases first video phone for nearly $1,500
Music: Mariah Carey, Color Me Badd, Boyz II Men, Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and Peter Gabriel
Movies: "The Bodyguard," "Sister Act," "Reservoir Dogs," "Basic Instinct" and "Wayne's World"


Arkansas defeats Duke in the finals.

Headlines: Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is attacked before the national championships; her competitor Tony Harding's husband and three other men were arrested for the assault; O.J. Simpson is accused of killing his ex-wife and her friend; Simpson flees police in a white Broncho as TV news helicopters capture the scene live; Lisa Marie Presley marries Michael Jackson; Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain commits suicide
Music: Blind Melon, Sheryl Crow, Aerosmith and Snoop Doggy Dogg
Movies: "Pulp Fiction," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Forest Gump" and "The Lion King"


Duke once again comes up short in the finals. This time, losing to UConn.

Headlines: Hurricane Floyd hits North Carolina; U.S. Women's Soccer wins the World Cup; MySpace launches; everyone is terrified of "Y2K:" Napster, a file sharing program; is released
Music: Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Eminem and Limp Bizkit
Movies: "The Sixth Sense," "Star Wars Episode 1," "Austin Powers," "American Pie" and "The Matrix"


A decade after winning its championship, Duke is back on top after defeating Arizona.

Headlines: The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; legendary race car driver Dale Earnhardt dies in a crash at Daytona 500; Wikipedia goes online; Napster is shut down; Apple releases first iPod
Music: Destiny's Child, Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys and Janet Jackson
Movies: "Lord of the Rings," "Ocean's Eleven," "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone"


Duke is bounced out in the semi-finals and UConn takes the title.

Headlines: George W. Bush wins re-election; Facebook is launched; Martha Stewart is convicted of insider trading; Janet Jackson's exposed breast during Super Bowl halftime show creates controversy
Music: Beyonce, Blink 182, Green Day and Usher
Movies: "The Passion of the Christ," "Million Dollar Baby," "Shrek 2," "Ray," and "Sideways"


Nine years after their last championship, Duke is back on top after beating Butler in the finals.

Headlines: BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; Apple releases iPad; JetBlue flight attendant quits job and slides out emergency exit at the terminal; Oprah announces final season of her talk show
Music: Justin Bieber; Lady Gaga and her meat dress; Rihanna and Eminem
Movies: "The Social Network," "Black Swan," "Inception," "Toy Story 3"


Duke will face Michigan State in the Final Four this weekend.


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