Coach Mike Krzyzewski has become the outright second most successful coach in men’s college basketball history, as his Duke Blue Devils downed the Wisconsin Badgers to win their fifth NCAA Men’s College Basketball National Championship at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The final match in the 2014-15 college basketball season capped off a wild NCAA March Madness tournament bracket that saw the overwhelming favourite Kentucky take an unprecedented undefeated record of 38-0 all the way to the Final Four, only to be shockingly upset by Wisconsin in the penultimate round.
Though locked together at 31 at the end of the first half, the Blue Devils managed to peg back a nine point Badgers lead halfway through the second half, pulling away to an eventual 68-63 victory and their first national championship since 2010.
The Devils soared to the win on the back of guard Tyus Jones‘ impressive game-high 23 point effort, which included 2 shots from beyond the arc made on 3 attempts. For the Badgers, again it was the physical efforts of forward Frank Kaminsky that threatened to overrun Duke at times, registering 21 points of his own and dominating the glass to pull in 12 rebounds.
The win registers Coach K’s fifth national title for Duke in his ninth trip to the championship game, moving him into outright second on the list of winningest college basketball coaches, now behind only the legendary John Wooden who lead UCLA to ten titles between 1964 and 1975.
The Badgers were chasing the University’s first national basketball championship since 1941, but their giant killing efforts of the semi-finals (even despite their number 1 regional seeding) could not be repeated against a Duke basketball program that has proven time and time again to be one of the best of the modern era.
For the Badgers, a solemn trip back to Madison now awaits, with plenty of time to contemplate what might have been. But for Duke and the Cameron Crazies, the celebrations are only just beginning.
Photo: Andy Lyons via Getty Images.