To the surprise of very few, Duke capped off a crazy, three-week long NCAA tournament with a thrilling championship game that resulted in a 61-59 victory for the Blue Devils that cemented Coach Mike Krzyzewski's legacy as one of the best coaches in college basketball history. Facing a Butler squad that was playing in front of its home crowd in downtown Indianapolis, Coach K's squad took home the victory in exhilarating fashion nonetheless.
The Blue Devils, holding a narrow 5-point lead with only a few minutes remaining, allowed Butler to go on a small, but crucial 4-point run that put them in a position to leave with a victory in hand. Trailing by one with 13.6 seconds left on the game clock, Butler got its best player, Gordon Hayward, the ball at the top of the key, who then spun toward the baseline but was forced to throw up an off-balance fadeaway jump shot from 15 feet out.
But in the end, Hayward would have another chance to win it. After Brian Zoubekmade made just one-of-two free throws, giving Duke a 2-point lead, Hayward launched a desperation half-court shot that rattled off the backboard and rim to give the Blue Devils the national title.
In the end, it seemed as if Duke's "big three" of Kyle Singler, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smithf was just too much for Butler to handle. In the end, Singler finished with a game 19-points as well as 9-rebounds. Scheyer and Smith also finished in double figures with 15 and 13 points apiece. Such strong performance on the offensive end, as well as a steady defense, enabled Krzyzewski to win his fourth championship, tying him with Adolf Rupp for second all-time.
Duke's win brings about an end to a college hoops season that was certainly full of surprises, even for our very own Trojans, who finished their season nearly a month ago. So with today's game officially capping off the season, it's time to reflect upon everything that has transpired since it all began last November. Therefore, in the meanwhile, anticipate some season recaps that reflect upon the 2009-2010 USC hoops team as well as other topics related to the Pac-10 and the rest of the nation.
It's been one crazy year.