The 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament concluded on April 6 as two number one seeds, Duke and Wisconsin, were pitted against each other in the championship game. The Duke Blue Devils ended up cutting the nets at the end of the night as they won their fifth national championship in school history, with a final score of 68-63.
The two teams reached the championship from the Final Four in very different fashions. Duke beat Michigan State, a seventh seed who was not expected to make it to the Final Four. Wisconsin played a much different opponent, number one seed Kentucky, who had an undefeated record of 38-0 entering their Final Four game.
The first half was very tight, with a score of 31-31 entering the break. Duke fell into foul trouble early as their two biggest role players, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow, each committed two fouls early. Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski addressed this at halftime by saying, “We’ve got to play without fouling in the second half, and put them in a little bit of harm’s way.”
The Blue Devils were able to overcome their foul trouble, even as it continued into the second half. Okafor picked up his fourth foul with several minutes left in the game, but the Blue Devils rallied and didn’t let the fouls slow them down on their way to winning the game. The first title won by Duke was in 1991, with all five championships occurring with Coach Mike Krzyzewski leading the team.