INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Duke languished in the shadows of Kentucky all season, the big blue juggernaut that nobody seemed to be talking about. It was a rarity for a program with such a championship pedigree, not to mention a record-setting coach and superstar freshmen.
They can thank Wisconsin for finally returning to the limelight.
The fun-loving Badgers ended the Wildcats' pursuit of perfection in the national semifinals, and set up an intriguing showdown in Monday night's title game: Duke trying to give Mike Krzyzewski his fifth national championship, Wisconsin trying to capture its first in 74 years.
The college basketball season is drawing to a close. The the championship game is tonight, and it’s an event celebrating all that is good on the hardwood. We will see some of the game’s finest players in action.
But one event that could be added to Final Four weekend is a college basketball all-star game. Unlike even college football, which boasts the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl, college basketball has no hype-filled event showcasing its premier players and coaches.
College basketball, however, needs such a game. It needs an event that NBA scouts can pore over, networks can televise, and, most significantly, one that fans will enjoy. The four major sports have all-star games that are wonderful spectacles displaying the best of the best, where fans can see all the top players in one place. A college basketball all-star game would serve that purpose perfectly, as the sport’s abundant amount of teams and spread-out talent pool make it very rare to see even a few of the hardwood’s best in one game.
On April 2, Boston College Head Football Coach Steve Addazio visited my school, St. Joseph Elementary School, in Needham, MA. His inspiring talk was part of SJS’s Leadership Speaker Series for fifth graders.
Coach Addazio spoke about football, of course. But before he got to sports he shared some important lessons he has learned in his life.
First, Addazio shared his motto: “Good things happen to good people who work hard.” He asked the audience to say it three times so that no one would forget it.
He also remembered a homily he heard at a BC mass. He explained that it was about “going down and helping to pick somebody up.”
He used that message to challenge students to think about what they could give of themselves. He encouraged everyone to do simple acts of kindness to make someone’s day better, like giving a nice compliment or leading a helping hand.
As Hall of Famer Rogers Horsnby once said, “People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
Millions of baseball fans feel the same way. Opening Day marks the beginning of a new life for fans, and it is a very special day. It is not, however, an official holiday. I am here to tell you that it should be.
On Saturday night, Duke defeated Michigan State 81–61, and then Wisconsin ended Kentucky’s dream of a perfect season. In the first national semifinal, Duke used tenacious defense to stop the Spartans, who got off to a quick start and led 14–6 after the first media timeout.
Then the Blue Devils stepped up and took control of the game. It seemed like there was a lid on the basket preventing the Spartans from scoring. Once Duke took the lead, they never looked back and finished with a convincing 20-point victory.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Duke forward Marshall Plumlee afterward. “I am so happy, and I have great teammates.”
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nobody ever said they were perfect. Now, the Kentucky Wildcats aren't undefeated, either.
The hard-nosed Wisconsin Badgers did what nobody else could this season: They knocked off the Wildcats 71-64 on Saturday night behind 20 points and 11 rebounds from birthday boy Frank Kaminsky and a clutch comeback down the stretch.
Now, instead of Kentucky going for history, it's Wisconsin heading to the final Monday night to play Duke. The Badgers, who lost 80-70 to Duke in a December meeting in Madison, opened as a one-point favorite.
"I just feel like we wanted to win the national title, and we didn't do it," Wildcats freshman Tyler Ulis said. "So the season was a waste."
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two star freshmen, a solid senior and some of the trademark defense Duke has long been known for have the Blue Devils back in the national championship game.
And in Indianapolis, no less.
Justise Winslow scored 19 points, fellow freshman Jahlil Okafor added 18 and senior Quinn Cook had 17 to lead top-seeded Duke to an 81-61 victory over Michigan State on Saturday and into yet another title game in the city known for a 500-mile auto race.
The Blue Devils won it all in Indianapolis in 1991, their first under Mike Krzyzewski. The winningest men's Division I coach, who has a 9-3 record in national semifinal games, led them to their fourth and most recent title in 2010, also in Indianapolis.