For the first time since 2008, two No. 1 seeds met Monday night in Indianapolis in the National Championship game to wrap up the NCAA Tournament.
The No. 1 seed out of the West region, the Wisconsin Badgers, were taking on the No. 1 seed out of the South region, the Duke Blue Devils.
Wisconsin was coming off an impressive Final Four upset over a 38-0 Kentucky team that some college basketball analysts believed to be one of the best teams of all time. Duke was also going into Monday night with a lot of confidence after beating a tough Michigan State team by 20 points in the Final Four.
The first half lived up to all the hype that comes with the biggest college basketball game of the year. It was a fast paced, back-and-forth and exciting game to watch. Neither team could pull away from the other. In fact, the biggest lead of the first half was when Duke was up 23-17 with about six minutes remaining. Then Wisconsin responded with a 7-0 run and jumped back in front with a 24-23 lead with just under five minutes remaining. At the half, both teams were tied at 31 and the two teams looked very evenly matched.
There were 13 lead changes in the first twenty minutes of the contest. Wisconsin made 12/31 field goals, shot 4/11 from the three-point line. Duke shot 50 percent from the field and was only 1/4 from 3-point range.
Wisconsin came out playing well in the second half and with 13 minutes to go had a 48-39 lead. The Blue Devils struck back and tied the game at 54-54 with about seven minutes to go.
With just under two minutes remaining, Duke had the ball and looked like they were in control with a 63-58 lead. With the national title on the line and the shot clock winding down, Duke’s freshman point guard Tyus Jones hit a game sealing three-pointer with 1:15 left. Duke went on to win the game by a score of 68-63.
Duke was led by their highly regarded freshmen including Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, Justice Winslow and Grayson Allen. Jones won the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament and finished with 23 points. Allen, who averaged only 4.4 points per game and 9.2 minutes per game during the season, finished with 16 points.
Wisconsin leaned on their senior center, Frank Kaminsky, who finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
With Monday night’s victory, Duke’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski won his fifth national title while being at Duke.