Duke defeats Wisconsin to win NCAA Championship

by Joe Giordano || Staff Writer

The college basketball season officially came to a close this Monday as Duke was crowned the National Champions after their 68-63 win over Wisconsin. The 2015 tournament was littered with incredible moments, upsets, and games as March Madness truly lived up to its name this year. The madness began on the very first day when two shocking upsets occurred within an hour of each other as fourteenth seeded UAB and Georgia State knocked off Iowa State and Baylor respectively. In dramatic fashion, R.J. Hunter hit a game-winning three for Georgia State as his dad (Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter) literally fell out of his seat and onto the floor, and thus creating an unforgettable tournament moment. While both teams fell in the second round of the tournament, no one will ever forget those two incredible upsets and highlighted the first round of the tournament action. However, even with all of the uncertainty surrounding March Madness, it seemed as if there was a clear-cut favorite to cut down the nets at the end. The Kentucky Wildcats, the number one overall seed in the tournament who entered the tournament 34-0, seemed destined to complete a perfect season and win the National Championship. However, on their road to the championship hit a stumbling block in a team named Wisconsin. The talented Kentucky team fell to the senior-lead Wisconsin Badgers in an instant classic in the Final Four, with senior Frank Kaminsky leading the Badgers to their first National Championship game since 1941. On the other side of the bracket, the Duke Blue Devils, lead by freshman phenom Jahlil Okafor, seemed to be on a collision course with Kentucky in the championship game. The Blue Devils were up for the challenge winning each of their five games on the way to the championship by at least 14 points including a 20-point thrashing of Michigan State to set up a game National Title game with Wisconsin. With both teams playing at such a high level heading into the game, many fans and analysts alike were expecting a classic and they were not disappointed. The teams battled in a back and forth first half that ended tied 31 to 31. In the second half, Wisconsin broke out to a 9-point lead with around 13 minutes remaining. Then in a sequence no one was expecting, Grayson Allen took over. Allen, an overlooked freshman guard who received little significant playing time during the season, scored eight straight Duke points to shrink down the lead to 1 point. During this crucial turning point in the game, Duke hit a three pointer and never gave up the lead after that. Freshman guard Tyus Jones additionally added an incredible 19-second half points to help put the Badgers to rest. In what will be considered two of the most clutch championship game performances of all time, Allen and Jones helped bring Duke its fifth title under Coach K’s regime. Further cementing his place as college basketball’s top coach, Coach K and the Blue Devils moved into third place all-time for NCAA Championships and added to an already memorable season for the Blue Devils by capping it with a National Title. With Duke stars Jahlil Okafor, Justice Winslow, and Tyus Jones along with Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker headed to the NBA Draft, these two teams will look to rebuild with recruits and fight back to the championship again next season. Their instant classic in the final put an excellent cap on a fantastic college basketball season and leaves fans waiting for a cruel 7 months without more action. First-year Joseph Giordano is a staff writer. His email is jgiorda1@fandm.edu.

print

Leave a Reply