The 2014-15 NCAA basketball season has come to an end after another brilliant March Madness run. This year’s NCAA Tournament delivered first round upsets, an undefeated team run to the Final Four and a fifth NCAA championship for Mike Krzyewski.
The Championship game is what many fans wait for but we like the entire tournament starting with the first round. This years first round provided some action packed games with a few Cinderella’s that fans fell in love with. One of those teams was Georgia State who entered the tournament as the 14th seed found a way to knock off the #3 Baylor Bears in the first round.
Following the first round upsets the rest of the big stories all revealed around the four teams that met in the Final Four. In the Midwest bracket the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats took their streak into a key matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers after they knocked off the Arizona Wildcats in the West bracket.
Over on the opposite side of the bracket the Michigan State Spartans coached by Tom Izzo found a way to knock off the number two, three and four seeds off to land in the Final Four as a seventh seed. The final team to land in the Final Four was the Duke Blue Devils led by Coach K and the top player in the country Jahlil Okafor.
In the first final four contests we saw a hard fought battle between the Wildcats and Badgers. The Badgers pair of big men Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky was just too much for the more athletic Wildcats team. Kaminsky finished with a game high 20 points to go with 11 rebounds and two assists. Dekker also posted 16 points connecting on two of three from three-point land. The Badgers went on to win 71-64 spoiling a chance at an undefeated season.
The second final four contest saw two of the greatest college coaches of All-Time lead their teams against each other for a chance to play for the National Title. Unfortunately this game would get out of hand early as Okafor and Justise Winslow dominated the Spartans in route to a 81-61 win. Okafor finished with 18 points to go with six rebounds while Winslow finished with a team high 19 points and nine rebounds.
Finally after a couple weeks of some great college basketball the National Title game was set up as the Badgers looked to capture their first title since 1941. On the other said the Blue Devils found themselves in their ninth National title game with Coach K as the leader.
All eyes were glued to the television as these two teams took to the court. The Blue Devils came out red hot in the first half shooting 50 percent from the field but couldn’t find a way to pull away from the Badgers. The Badgers were able to keep the game tied 31-31 at the half.
In the second half the game came down to the wire after a controversial call on an out of bounds call gave the ball back to the Blue Devils. The team was able to turn to Tyus Jones who connected on a critical three with less than two minutes remaining to give the Blue Devils a 66-58 lead. The Badgers would cut it three but couldn’t get a turn over sending Jones to the line for two shots. Jones would connect on back-to-back free throws to give the Blue Devils a 68-63 win.
The win not only crowned the Blue Devils as National Champions but also propelled Coach K to yet another ring!
College men’s basketball has never been this good. The 2014- 2015 season is in its peak and the high adrenaline matches just show how tough the battle for the championship can get. Week 17 saw several displays of talent and prowess.
Games and Scores of the Week
The week saw some epic battles of the season with the current number one Kentucky beating Florida 67-50 and a win 72-64 over Georgia.
Kentucky Freshman Karl Anthony-Towns vs Florida
Others games include:
– Virginia v Louisville, saw Virginia lose 59-57.
– Duke v North Carolina 84-77 win for Duke. North Carolina won their other game at Georgia Tech 81-49
– Villanova v St. John’s at Creighton saw Villanova win 105-68 at Creighton.
– Arizona v California, Arizona securing a win of 99-60
– Wisconsin v Ohio State, saw a win for Wisconsin 72-48, and 76-63 against Minnesota. Ohio state had beaten Penn State 77-67.
– Gonzaga recovered from week 16 loss at BYU to beat San Fransisco 81-72.
– Wichita St beat S Illinois 56-45 to lose 62-65 at Illinois State.
– Kansas beat West Virginia 76-69 and lost at Oklahoma 75-73. West Virginia managed a win of 81-72 at Oklahoma St.
– Maryland had a superb win over Rutgers and Nebraska of 60-50 and 64-61 points respectively.
– Northern Iowa had three wins against Bradley, Loyola and Illinois St. of 73-46, 63-49 and 69-60 points respectively.
– Notre Dame won 71-59 at Louisville and 81-67 at Clemson.
– Utah won 67-59 at Washington and lost 77-68 at Washington.
– Baylor lost 61-59 at Texas but managed 77-74 win over Texas Tech.
– Arkansas won 78-74 at South Carolina failed to shine at LSU losing 81-78.
– Butler lost 60-54 at Georgetown but recovered to beat Providence 68-64. Providence won vs Seton Hall 79-66.
– Murray St beat Morehead State 80-77 to lose narrowly 88-87 at Belmont.
Changes in AP Poll Positions
The week saw teams retaining, dropping or rising in the poll. Kentucky, Virginia, Utah, Arkansas and West Virginia retained positions 1, 2, 13, 18 and 20 respectively. Baylor moved up five places to 14th. Iowa State dropped from 12th to 17th and North Carolina from 15th to 19th.
The 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship took place on January 12th, 2015 between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Oregon Ducks. The Buckeyes defeated the Ducks in an upset, not only in the win column but on the scoreboard; no one was expecting a 42-20 victory.
Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones had a satisfactory performance for a third-stringer, passing for 242 yards to go along with a touchdown and an interception. Jones clearly took advantage of the opportunity given to him after quarterbacks Braxton Miller and JT Barrett were injured earlier in the year. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota had a very strong game with 333 yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception. However, his stat line was not enough as the passing attack did not have the most effect on the game.
Cardale Jones leads OSU to beat Oregon
Ohio State outran Oregon 296 yards to 132, and the Buckeyes were able to get five touchdowns on the ground. Ohio State halfback Ezekiel Elliott had a Heisman-worthy type game; he carried the ball 36 times for 246 yards and four touchdowns (all those stats are championship game records). Cardale Jones also added another touchdown using his feet. Even though Ohio State had four turnovers compared to the Duck’s one, they still managed to come out victorious.
Oregon came into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed while Ohio State came is as the No. 4 seed. During the first time in NCAA Football history there has been playoffs, the Buckeyes pulled two upsets on the way to winning it all. While Marcus Mariota remains a high first round likelihood for the NFL Draft, the outcome of this game did lead him to consider coming back for his senior year for another chance at a title.
This national championship marked the sixth for Ohio State which is tied for fifth all-time. It was their first title since the 2002 BCS Championship.
OSU Celebrates Victory over Oregon Ducks