At this point, it’s safe to say that Indianapolis has this whole Final Four thing down. The city hosted college basketball’s grandest stage for the seventh time this past weekend, including the second time at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Indy first hosted the event in 1980 and later in 1991, 1997, 2000, 2006 and 2010. It is also slated to host in 2021.
The locals probably aren’t mad about it.
“I was talking to the mayor, (and) he’s really excited about the $100 million of economic impact here,” Sports Business Insider Rick Horrow said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “He brokered a deal where this whole religious-discrimination law issue is probably a non-entity. It’s got to be. Kind of like the Super Bowl years ago in Phoenix. You don’t screw around with a major sporting event. You get it delayed and you get the $100 million going elsewhere. This is amazing because Wisconsin fans came in in droves today. They’re only five hours from Madison. Duke fans were pretty loyal anyway. Kentucky and Michigan State, they’re out of here. My only issue is the guy sitting right in front of me (during the game) is David Robinson, so I can’t see squat.”
Indianapolis is an ideal Final Four host city, with its stadium, bars and restaurants all within walking distance to several downtown hotels. And, for whatever reason, the city tends to give fans instant classics. In 2010, for example, Gordon Hayward almost authored what would have been the greatest moment in sports history, but his half-court heave at the buzzer rimmed out against Duke, giving Mike Krzyzewski his fourth national title.
Krzyzewski, it is worth noting, has won three of his five national titles in Indianapolis, the most recent coming Monday against Wisconsin. The Blue Devils overcame a nine-point deficit in the second half to beat the Badgers, 68-63, as Tyus Jones and reserve Grayson Allen – both freshmen – took control down the stretch. Jones scored 19 of his 23 points after halftime, while Allen went on a personal 8-0 run with Duke trailing and Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow on the bench in foul trouble.
Wisconsin shot just 7-of-21 from three-point range – with many of those attempts coming against Duke’s 2-3 zone – but the Badgers got offensive rebound after offensive rebound and converted them into easy put-backs to remain in the game, and, at one point, take control.
“(Krzyzewski) talked to his players, I’m sure, about guarding against three-pointers, (but) when the three-pointers went up, the guys were in transition,” Horrow said. “Well, you got to get the rebounds first.”
In the end, though, Duke pulled away, outscoring Wisconsin by 14 points in the final 13 minutes. For the game, the Blue Devils shot 20 free throws to Wisconsin’s 10 and held the Badgers to 41 percent shooting form the floor – seven percentage points under their season average.
Frank Kaminsky finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block, but Sam Dekker – who entered the final shooting 15-of-30 from three-point range in the tournament – shot just 0-of-6 from downtown. He finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Krzyzewski’s five national titles trail only John Wooden’s 10. Wisconsin, meanwhile, hasn’t won it all since 1941.