Four teams enter, two play for the title, one leaves a champion. Minneapolis has played host to the Final Four twice now — 1992 and 2001. Each time, Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski left the Twin Cities on top of the college basketball world. But let’s not forget about the first NCAA title game played here. Here’s a look at all three of the previous championship games played in Minneapolis.
1951: Kentucky 68, Kansas State 58
This was the first year the tournament included 16 teams. The game was at Williams Arena, and Kansas State jumped out to a 29-21 halftime lead. It couldn’t hold on, though, as Kentucky big man Bill Spivey scored 22 points and grabbed 21 rebounds to lead a comeback. This was Adolph Rupp’s third title.
1992: Duke 71, Michigan 51
It’s hard for any regional game to overshadow a national title game, especially when that game includes Michigan’s Fab Five, but Christian Laettner’s overtime buzzer-beater in the regional final against Kentucky is what people remember. Not the fact that Coach K led the Blue Devils to their second consecutive title.
2001: Duke 82, Arizona 72
Shane Battier, Mike Dunleavy, Jay Williams and Carlos Boozer were too much for Arizona to handle in this showdown. Threes were the name of the game, as Dunleavy hit three in a row during an 11-2 second-half Duke run. Despite a poor performance, Williams drained a three-pointer with two minutes left to seal the win.