Duke Emerges as the Champion of March

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Duke players hoist the championship trophy after defeating Wisconsin.

David Becker, Staff Writer

Winner of March Madness: Duke

The Duke Blue Devils won March Madness on April 6 after defeating a fellow one seed, Wisconsin. Coach K’s Blue Devils found themselves in a hole when they were down by nine with about 10 minutes remaining in the game. Freshman Grayson Allen scored eight straight points to bring Duke back into it. After that, guard Tyus Jones took over the game by scoring 19 points in the second half. Jahil Okafor, the potential number one overall pick in the NBA draft, was forced to the bench with foul trouble, but when he was in the game, he played very well.

 

Biggest surprise team: Michigan State

Tom Izzo’s Michigan State team earned a trip to the Final Four despite being a seven seed. It wasn’t a walk in the park to get there either; they had to play Virginia, Oklahoma and Louisville, who were all nationally ranked in the Top 25. Led by seniors Branden Dawson and Travis Trice, the Spartans used their momentum from their run in the Big Ten conference tournament, to fuel their run in the tournament.

 

Best Player: Frank Kaminsky

Although he didn’t win the championship, the senior center for Wisconsin, Frank Kaminsky, had a great tournament. The Wooden award winner averaged nine rebounds to go along with his 22 points per game. He ended his Wisconsin career on a good note.

 

Biggest Disappointment: Iowa State

A team that many had going to the Final Four, Iowa State, suffered an early exit after losing to UAB in the first round of the tournament. The 14th seeded Blazers barely squeaked into the tournament after winning the Conference-USA championship. Despite being underdogs by 13.5 points and not having any wins vs. Top 25 opponents, the UAB Blazers sent Iowa State home with a 60-59 win in the round of 64. Iowa State’s star forward Georges Niang really struggled in the game shooting 4 for 15 from the field while UAB’s Robert Brown shined, scoring 21 points. Iowa State’s early exit was certainly a surprise considering they beat three straight tourney bound teams to end the regular season.