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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Blue Devils seize victory in NCAA tournament

“And the Blue Devils are the National Champions of 2015,” CBS play-by-play broadcaster Jim Nantz said as the clock wound down in Indianapolis on Monday night April 6.

28.3 million viewers witnessed the Duke University Blue Devils triumph over the University of Wisconsin Badgers 68–63.

The win gave coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke their fifth total national title, and their first since defeating Butler University in the same venue in 2010.

The two number one seeds played a physical 40 minute game, which was the formula that got both teams to the national championship game.

In Duke’s Final Four matchup with Michigan State University, the Blue Devils cruised their way into the title game with a dominating 20 point win over coach Izzo in their Final Four semifinal game to punch their ticket to the Monday finale.

On the other side of the bracket, Wisconsin had to go through the undefeated 38–0 University of Kentucky Wildcats to enter the national championship.

It was a redemption game for the Badgers, who lost by one point after a last-second three-point shot sealed a Wildcats victory the year before.

So what better way to get redemption than to end Kentucky’s pursuit of perfection a game early?

That is exactly what the Badgers did to solidify their spot in Monday’s title game, hitting some clutch free throws down the stretch to come away with the 71–64 victory.

The championship game was a rematch from an early December meeting between the Blue Devils and the Badgers, which saw Duke take the 80–70 win on the road.

A lot has changed since then.

Other than the fact this game had much more magnitude, former junior Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon was still on the team. He was dismissed just a few weeks after for “repeatedly struggling to meet team obligations,” which according to The Chronicle, was alleged sexual assault. He scored 14 points in that Dec. 3 win over the Badgers.

Wisconsin junior forward standout Sam Dekker had a poor shooting night in that early matchup, so odds that his poor performance would repeat were slim after the way he had played throughout the tournament.

Everything was set up for this game to be one for the ages. In the end, it was an exciting game but more of a showing in how coach Krzyzewski is the greatest coach of this era.

After a back and forth first half, the game was notched up at 31 a piece going into halftime.

Duke had gotten into some early first half foul trouble, which included star freshman center Jahlil Okafor, who got out to a slow start.

Things did not get much better for the Blue Devils early in the second half when they found themselves in a nine-point hole.

While freshman guard Tyus Jones was playing at his usual level — exceptional — someone else had to step up for Duke if they wanted to get back into the game.

Freshman guard Grayson Allen answered the call.

Allen finished with an unexpected 16 points that propelled the Blue Devils back into the game. Jones added a team high 23 points, and Okafor made possibly his two biggest baskets of the year to help extend the Duke lead to five with just a few minutes remaining.

When it was all over, the Duke freshman Okafor, Allen, Jones and forward Justice Winslow had combined for 60 of Duke’s 68 points.

Jones was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player for his performance, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot all tournament.

For the Badgers, player of the year senior forward Frank Kaminsky tallied a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Dekker added 12 points, but went cold behind the arch shooting 0 for 6.

It was simply not enough.

While the freshman shined for the Blue Devils on the biggest stage, and watching them cut the nets left one contemplating such an achievement at 19 years old, one of the best moments of the night was seeing senior guard Quinn Cook embrace coach K in tears as the annual post-tournament “One Shining Moment” video played.

So we once again close a chapter of college basketball history as the season comes to a close, this one ending with the Blue Devils atop the basketball world once again.

Now the wait begins until November so it all can begin again.

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Reese Setzer, Sports Editor

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