The 2015 NCAA March Madness Tournament came to an end last night when Duke became the 2015 National Champions by defeating Wisconsin 68-63.  It was a great final game to an overall outstanding tournament, even though our teams (MSU, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin) did not win the championship.  The game between Wisconsin and Duke was closely contested and the 1st half ended with a 31-31 tie.  My mom and I have been on a quest of finding all the positive Big Ten mojo we could since completing our brackets in order to cheer on and support a Big Ten team winning the championship.  We thought all the mojo had paid off last night and were celebrating when Wisconsin took the largest lead by either team, 46-39, with fourteen minutes remaining.  Wisconsin held on to their lead over the next five minutes and with just under ten minutes remaining, Jahlil Okafor picked up his fourth foul, and with Duke’s best player on the bench it was cause for more celebration.  Well, everyone celebrated a little early (maybe even the Wisconsin players) and in a blink of an eye the lead disappeared and with under six minutes remaining Duke took their first lead, 56-54, since 2:54 remaining in the first half.  Very quickly, the Wisconsin victory that seemed within reach was snatched away by Duke’s Tyus Jones who proceeded to hit a couple of 3-pointers and his free-throws down the stretch on the way to the Most Outstanding Player award and the fifth Duke National Championship under Mike Krzyzewski.  The AP Player of the Year and 2015 Naismith Trophy winner, Frank Kaminsky, had a great game with 21 points and 12 rebounds and it was a shame after a great tournament the senior did not walk off the court with the championship.

Some of our favorite highlights from the 2015 NCAA Tournament were:

  • Watching MSU, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.
  • Two Big Ten teams making it to the Final Four.
  • Another amazing March for Coach Izzo and the MSU Spartans.
  • Notre Dame almost making it to the Final Four in their great game against Kentucky.
  • Watching multiple games at a time and finding ourselves yelling and celebrating over all the exciting games.
  • Watching our favorite commercials.  My mom’s favorite were the Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee commercials and mine was the Buick “Woof” Dog commercial.
  • The early upsets and the record-setting first day of the tournament.

My recommendation for the 2016 NCAA Tournament is that the tournament needs to start a week earlier for the following reasons:

  • Start the tournament a week earlier, so that the Final Four weekend is the last weekend of March.  My mom and I believe that Coach Izzo and the Spartans would have several more championships due to Coach Izzo’s March magic.  My mom refused to comment in her blogs on Coach Izzo’s April record since he “is the best coach in modern NCAA Tournament history-by far” (FiveThirtyEight.com), but clearly if you look at the numbers, March has been more magical.
  • Another reason to have the tournament start earlier is that the championship game was the same day as Major League Baseball Opening Day.  My mom has been telling me all about this positive energy and Big Ten mojo we needed for the big games and on the day of the championship game her extra mojo was sent to Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals.  I think she was a little jealous I won our little pool and refused to share her extra mojo.

We are already looking forward to next year’s basketball season, but before then we have the 2015 NCAA football season.  Save the date for a great early game in the season between the MSU Spartans and Oregon Ducks on September 12th.

What a Tournament!!

Gabby