DJ Burns caught talking well-warranted trash to Duke fans courtside as NC State upsets again

Life is good for the Wolfpack big man, and he let the Cameron Crazies who made the trip to Dallas know about it.

DJ Burns had the last laugh on Duke and its trash-talking fans
DJ Burns had the last laugh on Duke and its trash-talking fans / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Every March, a player comes along that becomes the darling of college basketball. Perhaps the most famous example is Steph Curry of Davidson, but there are other non-top-10 NBA players of all-time that have taken the NCAA Tournament by storm for a couple of weeks. Think guys like Cameron Krutwig of Loyola Chicago, Doug Edert of St. Peter's, or Markquis Nowell of Kansas State. We're now through four rounds of the NCAA Tournament, and it's clear that we have our man, and his name is DJ Burns.

The Wolfpack big man has captured the imagination of the college basketball world with his unique combination of an offensive lineman's body, the footwork of a ballerina, and a gap-toothed smile that has never wavered as NC State has rolled off nine straight wins to reach one of the most unlikely Final Fours in tournament history.

Just in case the whole world wasn't already in his corner, Burns did something last night that guaranteed himself a place in the hearts and minds of college basketball fans: he bullied Duke right out of the tournament, and he had fun doing it.

Few things bring people together like dancing on Duke's grave as the Blue Devils get bounced from March Madness

Burns not only talked the talk, though, he walked the walk, destroying Jon Scheyer's team with 29 points, four rebounds, and three assists, while also helping foul out opposing center Kyle Filipowski in an emphatic 76-64 Wolfpack win.

This is the first Final Four for NC State since Jim Valvano's Cardiac Pack beat the Phi Slama Jama Houston Cougars for the 1983 national championship. That Wolfpack team overcame future Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon in that game, and Burns and his teammates face a similarly tall task now, as soon-to-be two-time National Player of the Year Zach Edey and the Purdue Boilermakers will be waiting in Phoenix for a titanic matchup on Saturday night.

Forty-one years after becoming, as a 6-seed, the unlikeliest NCAA Tournament champ of all-time, 11-seed NC State is now two games away from rewriting history once again. Given how improbable the Pack's run has been to this point, it's impossible to count them out, even in a Final Four with juggernauts like Purdue and defending champion UConn possibly waiting in the finals. Whatever happens, though, Burns has already cemented his place in history, and after taking Duke behind the woodshed, he's gained a legion of new fans, as well. Saturday night can't come soon enough.

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