In 2010, the NCAA Final Four participants at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis were: Duke, West Virginia, Butler and Michigan State. Not really what the networks, sponsors, or the NCAA wanted, nonetheless the games had to be played.
Kansas (Mid-West), Kentucky (East), Duke (South) and Syracuse (West) were the No. 1 seeds but the Blue Devils were the only top seed that decided to show up for the Final Four!
The Kansas Jayhawks were defeated by Northern Iowa during second round action while Syracuse and Kentucky were knocked out by Butler and West Virginia in later rounds.
When the brackets first came out, everybody had their sights set on a possible Duke versus Kentucky Final Four semi-final matchup in Indianapolis. West Virginia put an end to that possible matchup by upsetting a Kentucky team led by John Wall and Demarcus Cousins! Duke advanced and ended up defeating Cinderella, Butler in the NCAA finals 61-59. Coach Mike Krzyzewski captured his 4th National Title with this victory!
If Duke would have lost to Baylor in the Elite 8, the Final Four would have consisted of Baylor, West Virginia, Butler and Michigan State. What a ratings nightmare that would have been.
The 2010 Final Four would have lacked brand appeal and also fan interest period! Millions tune in praying that the Blue Devils either win or lose! Since the Blue Devils are one of the most successful basketball programs in the past 30+ years, many tune in for the latter! Many credited the Blue Devils for rescuing the 2010 Final Four and I happened to be one of them!
The 2015 version of the NCAA Final Four at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis participants were: Duke, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Kentucky. Once again this had fans salivating about the possibility of a Duke versus an undefeated Kentucky team. This time in the NCAA finals.
Duke advanced by defeating Michigan State 81-61 in the first semi-final game and Wisconsin defeated Kentucky 71-64 in the second game. The Wildcat's were once again no-shows for a dream matchup versus Duke in Indianapolis.
Now, instead of a Duke versus Kentucky NCAA finals matchup that would have sent ratings to all-time highs, we had Duke (34-4) versus Wisconsin (36-3) and Coach K’s drive for 5! Just imagine a Michigan State vs Wisconsin NCAA finals.
On Monday night, Tyus Jones (MOP) scored 23 points and reserve Grayson Allen added 16, as the Duke Blue Devils (35-4) overcame a 9 point deficit in the second half, defeating the Wisconsin Badgers (36-4) 68-63 in the NCAA finals. Coach Mike Krzyzewski now has 5 National Titles, which places him in the unique position of being considered one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time, along with the late John Wooden.
What a great storyline it was for the 2015 NCAA finals! Coach K's drive for 5 and his mission accomplished. I would have to say that once again, Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils saved a Final Four at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis!