NCAA tournament: Kentucky prevails over Duke for perfect season

Teams put in work all year, practice for hours on end, and do it all for one thing… to win the national championship and sit atop the college basketball world.

This year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Basketball Championship field of 68 teams had schools all across the country. Even with so many choices, many people labeled the University of Kentucky Wildcats as the team to beat. The Wildcats went an undefeated 34-0 into the NCAA tournament. And after four games, the Wildcats are 38-0, two wins away from a national championship. In ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, 41 percent of participants had the Wildcats winning the national championship.

“What they are doing is historic. I think that they will go 40-0 and be a college basketball team for the ages. While a national championship was not guaranteed, they had the best chance since they were loaded from top to bottom with unbelievable talent,” George Ryan, PE coach said before their fifth round game.

Although Kentucky dominated their region of the tournament, there were plenty of surprises elsewhere. In the East region, the two finalists were the No. 7 seed Michigan State Spartans and No. 4 seed Louisville Cardinals. The top two seeds in the region, the Villanova Wildcats and the Virginia Cavaliers were both knocked out in round two. In the West region, the No. 6 Xavier Musketeers made it to the Sweet Sixteen. In the South region, the No. 14 seed University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers shocked the heavily favored, No. 3 seed Iowa State Cyclones.

“I never really have a favorite game. But, the first weekend of games is always one of the best things in sports,” Ryan said.

Even after all of the upsets and shakeups, the Final Four that most people expected did materialize. Kentucky, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Duke were the last four standing.

“For many reasons, this stands to be the most exciting build-up to a Final Four we have ever seen. No matter how any of these games play out, the outcomes will bring intrigue, big story lines and grand takeaways,” CBS college basketball writer Matt Norlander said in a recent column.

In the first game, Duke defeated Michigan State 81-61 to advance to the national championship. Just a few hours later, Wisconsin shocked America and beat Kentucky 71-64 to advance to face Duke in the championship. On Apr. 6, 2015, the teams met in the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship. After a back and forth game, Duke prevailed 68-63. The Final Four Most Outstanding Player was awarded to Duke guard Tyus Jones who had 14 points in the second half.

Jones said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports, “There’s never been a moment when [the team and coaching staff] have doubted me. They trusted me to make plays