College Basketball National Championship Recap: Coach K Does It Again
Perhaps it had to do with the recent I Hate Christian Laettner 30 for 30, but it was abundantly clear on social media last night: America wanted Wisconsin to win.
They knocked off the tournament's Goliath to get there. They had likable personalities on the team. They were, for all intents and purposes, America's team last night.
Duke didn't care. And they knocked off everyone's new favorite team last night in dramatic fashion.
If you've been using numberFire Live during the tournament (if not, shame on you), then you probably saw the crazy swings in yesterday's contest via our win probability graph. Take a look at it below.
Wisconsin had a clear advantage through a lot of the second half. In fact, they peaked at an 84.97% win probability when they took a nine-point lead with 13:24 left in the game.
Duke, however, was able to climb back, hitting shot after shot to increase their probability to win the game. No shot, according to numberFire Live, was bigger than Tyus Jones' three-pointer with a little over four minutes to go. That make added nearly 20% win odds in Duke's favor.
In the end, three of the top-five performers, per the platform, were Blue Devils: Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones and Amile Jefferson. Allen and Jones specifically stepped up in a big way with Jahlil Okafar sidelined with foul trouble.
Was Duke lucky to win this year's big dance? Not nearly as fortunate as the masses make it out to be. No, they didn't beat an undefeated Kentucky squad in doing so. But although the schools they beat to get to the championship game -- North Florida, San Diego State, Utah, Gonzaga and Michigan State -- were generally not high-profiled programs (aside from Michigan State and possibly Gonzaga), Duke's path to the Final Four was the second toughest among the four teams who made it that far. And they then manhandled a Michigan State team that had proven to be an incredibly underrated squad in this year's tournament.
Complaining about Duke's "easy" path to greatness is ignorant. Because Duke, ladies and gentlemen, was great in March and April. And they're more than deserving of this year's national title.