Duke’s shining moment
By Zach Miller
It’s all over. After 67 games over the past 21 days, March Madness has ended. Too bad, because this year was one of the most exciting NCAA Tournaments in recent memory.
The main narrative of this year’s tournament was Kentucky’s quest for a perfect 40-0 season, which eventually eluded them when they fell to Wisconsin in the Final Four.
However, there were also upsets, such as Michigan State, a seven seed, making its way to the Final Four before losing to the eventual national champions, Duke.
Duke’s spectacular championship run marked coach Mike Krzyzewski’s fifth national title, the second most of any men’s college basketball coach ever.
The championship game itself was back and forth for most of the game until Duke pulled away late behind the play of freshman guard Tyus Jones, who won the award for the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.
Jones led all scorers with 23 points, while Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky, the consensus national player of the year, led Wisconsin with 21 points.
Wisconsin is expected to lose nearly all of its contributing players from their run to the championship game, as most of its best players are either seniors or high-level NBA prospects.
Duke is also expected to lose its four main contributors to the NBA or graduation, including two potential top-five picks in the NBA draft in Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow.
However, it is impossible to talk about the NCAA Tournament without talking about Kentucky. They were 38-0 going into their Final Four matchup with Wisconsin, poised to become the first team since Indiana in 1976 to finish their season undefeated. By losing, they made history as the first team to ever reach at least a 35-0 record and subsequently lose in March Madness.
They had a few close calls before, but Kentucky’s loss truly shocked the college basketball world. They had been ranked number one from the start of the season to the final AP poll at the beginning of March Madness, and there was speculation that by reaching 40-0, they would go down as the greatest college basketball team ever.
Nonetheless, Kentucky’s loss as the heavy favorite was the NCAA tournament in a nutshell. Although statistically there weren’t as many upsets this year as in other years, the quality of the games was fantastic, and the Kentucky-Wisconsin matchup was the most-watched game on television in the history of college basketball.
All in all, the NCAA tournament was better than ever. There were upsets, buzzer beaters, and just an unbelievable amount of great games. March Madness may be over, but it was incredible while it lasted.
Peter Santo also contributed to this report