Now that the 2014-2015 college basketball season is in the rearview and the Duke Blue Devils are basking in championship glory, it’s time to look at what’s next for Duke before basketball fans go into hibernation awaiting the 2015-2016 season. (Just a hint, the Blue Devils may have the recipe for winning back-to-back titles.)
Now that I’ve had almost 48 hours to allow Monday night’s national championship game to digest, I’m prepared to share with you a few of the things that I’ve learned over the course of this year’s Final Four.
Finally. The madness ends tonight … and not in the way that many were expecting. No, we won’t see Kentucky getting a shot at 40-0. (You can thank — or curse — Wisconsin for that.) Instead, we get a rematch of a December game in Wisconsin and Duke. Two No. 1 seeds with loaded rosters and storied head coaches. That, in and of itself, is a story worth watching.
The game tips off at 9:18 p.m. ET on CBS.
Duke faced its biggest deficit of the tournament in the first five minutes of the game, but that never fazed Coach K and company. Duke controlled the last 10 minutes of the first half, and the second half was more of the same. The Blue Devils beat the Spartans, 81-61, to reach Monday night’s national championship game.
Boy, oh boy. How lucky are we? Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski facing off in the Final Four — Christmas in April. While its no real surprise that the Blue Devils have made it this far, it is rather astonishing that Michigan State has made it to Indianapolis.
This Final Four marks Izzo’s seventh as head coach of the Spartans in what maybe his best coaching job of his storied career.
While Coach K is searching for his fifth national title, he is also trying to win his third in the city of Indianapolis. In 1992, Duke upset the Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV in the Hoosier Dome and in 2010, Duke ruined the greatest basketball story ever told by beating Butler just three miles away from their own campus inside Lucas Oil Stadium. (The City of Indianapolis and I are still bitter.)
Mike Krzyzewski is headed to the Final Four with his youngest team of his career. With three freshmen starting, the Duke Blue Devils are going to their 16th Final Four and a record-tying 12th for Coach K. Only the late great UCLA coach John Wooden has had as many Final Four appearances, as well as a ridiculous 10 titles, seven of which were earned consecutively. Krzyzewski has a ways to go before he can boast 10 titles, but he can take one step further with a win Saturday against Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans.