Duke Topples Wisconsin To Win NCAA National Championship
It looks like the 2014-15 campaign is finally in the books. After a March that is going to be remembered for its craziness — Kentucky losing, tons of first round upsets and the debacle in the east — it ended in a closely contested matchup between Coach K’s Blue Devils and Bo Ryan’s Badgers.
And perhaps the most interesting storyline of last night’s game had to be senior Frank Kaminsky against freshman Jahil Okafor. Was age and chemistry going to defeat youth?
Now, while Kaminsky dominated Okafor in the first half — Kaminsky nearly played the entire game and had 12 rebounds, one block, one steal and 21 points — the freshman was able to pull through in the final moments of the second.
Still, to say this was an easy victory for the Blue Devils would be far from the truth. At one time during the second half, the Badgers were up by nine, but lost the lead late to Okafor’s in-the-paint scoring and Tyus Jones clutch three-pointers.
“That’s just one of those situations where you dream of hitting a shot like that late in the game,” Jones told ESPN about his clutch shots. “It was just emotions running through me, and you just got to soak it all in. You don’t expect to make a shot like that, but my teammates have confidence in me… I’m at a loss for words, to be honest.”
And speaking of Tyus Jones, he really stepped up in Okafor’s absence — Jahil only played 22 minutes after getting into foul trouble early. As a result of Jones’ 23 points and five rebounds, he was named the most outstanding player of the final four. It is also important to mention freshman Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen, who proved clutch in the finals: Allen had 16 points and is likely returning to Duke for his sophomore campaign.
Of course, this would not be a great story without some controversy, as Bo Ryan and Badgers nation are upset about the refereeing. “There was more body contact in this game than any game we’ve played all year, and I just feel sorry for my guys that all of a sudden a game was like that,” the Badgers coach stated. “I think they had a — they’re struggling with that a little bit. We missed some opportunities, they hit some tough shots, but you know, it’s just a shame that it had to be played that way.”
And this is not even considering the controversial out of bounds call in the final two minutes. Under Duke’s rim, Justise Winslow and Bronson Koenig went after a loose ball that went out of play. Through replay, it was determined that it was the Blue Devils’ ball, which sent Badgers nation into a frenzy. Immediately following the incident, Jones hit one of the aforementioned three-pointers to pretty much seal Duke’s victory.
Either way, it is probably not the best thing for Bo Ryan to somewhat bash the refs, but it is understandable why he is so salty. He is losing his golden boy Frank Kaminsky to the NBA and a win would have been the perfect ending to his fabulous four-year career in Wisconsin. Unfortunately for them, Duke finished out on top 68-63 and Coach K is enjoying his fifth national championship — his third in the last 15 years.