– Tears are part of the NCAA tournament. They flow when teams win and flow when they lose.

The tears shed for Louisville guard Kevin Ware on Sunday, though, were different. They almost spontaneously gushed in response to Ware's gruesome leg break during Sunday's Midwest Regional final game against Duke.

"I never thought in a million years I'd see anything like that," Louisville guard Russ Smith said. "I was completely devastated."

Yet, incredibly, Louisville turned the shock into inspiration and beat Duke 85-63.

Louisville left Ware's seat vacant for the rest of the game and then turned the screws on Duke in a relentless second half that restored the tournament to its purest, unbridled, emotional form.

The Cardinals held Duke scoreless for an eight-minute second-half stretch.

Peyton Siva (16 points) and Smith (23 points) raced like jets up and down the court and Gorgui Dieng, the team's 7-foot center, dominated inside with 14 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and two steals. He even knocked down a couple of outside jump shots.

"They wear you down," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Those two guards set an amazing pace."

Duke never had a chance.

The Cardinals used a 20-4 run to build a 62-46 lead with less than nine minutes remaining.

The Blue Devils struggled to score after trailing 35-32 at halftime, and Seth Curry was held to 12 points on 3-for-9 shooting. Forward Mason Plumlee led Duke with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

"I thought we had a chance there, and then, boom," Krzyzewski said. "That's what they do to teams. They can boom you."

This was the first time Rick Pitino and Krzyzewski had met in the regional finals since that 1992 classic that ended with Christian Laettner's improbable buzzer-beater, a game now considered one of the best in NCAA tournament history.

At the conclusion, Louisville players burst into emotional exhilarat ion as Pitino led the crowd in chants of "Kev-in!"

Louisville will face ninth-seeded Wichita State in one national semifinal Saturday in Atlanta.

Two fourth-seeded teams, Syracuse and Michigan, will play in the other Final Four game.

It marks Louisville's first trip since last year, Syracuse's first trip in 10 years, Michigan's first trip since the Fab Five in 1993 and Wichita State's first since 1965.

Of the four finalists, only Louisville won its conference title.

The four regional final games were really not that close, the winners moving on by the average winning margin of 15.5 points.

The Cardinals masterfully channeled their shock and solemnity into inspiration and victory.

They hope to do it again at the Final Four.