How Many Times Has Duke Won March Madness?
Every year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hosts their annual Division 1 postseason college basketball tournaments for both men and women. These tournaments take place mainly in the month of March and thus are often referred to as “March Madness.” The men’s tournament has taken place every year since 1937, and the women’s since 1982 (both with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Plenty of teams have won March Madness, and one of them is the Duke Blue Devils. While Duke has not taken home a women’s title yet, they have won the men’s tournament on five occasions. Below, we will discuss those championships in detail.
1991 Men’s Basketball Tournament
Prior to 1991, while Duke had made it to the Final Four before, they had yet to win a national championship. That all changed that year in Indianapolis. To begin the tournament, Duke was certainly one of the best teams in the field, as they were the number two seed in the Midwest region. They started off the event with an easy 102-73 victory over 15-seed Northeastern Louisiana, and then knocked off seven-seed Iowa 85-70 in the second round.
In the Sweet 16, Duke faced 11-seeded UCONN on a surprising run, but they put their story to bed with an 81-67 victory. They then advanced to the Final Four by knocking off four-seed St. Johns 78-61 in the Elite 8. In their first upset victory of the tournament, they defeated the defending champion and number-one seed from the West in UNLV 79-77. Then they capped off their run with a victory over the South’s three seed in Kansas 72-65.
1992 Men’s Basketball Tournament
A year after their first championship, Duke won their second to take back-to-back titles. As defending champions, it is no surprise that they started the tournament as the number one overall seed, playing in the East region. Their first two wins were relatively easy ones; 82-56 over 16-seeded Campbell and 75-62 over nine-seed Iowa 75-62, defeating the Hawkeyes for a second year in a row.
After defeating four-seed Seton Hall 81-69, Duke played two-seeded Kentucky in one of the greatest tournament games of all time. Duke eventually won on a buzzer-beater by Christian Laettner 104-103 in overtime. They then had another close one in the Final Four, defeating the Midwest’s three-seed Indiana 81-78. In the championship game, they had an easier time of it, defeating the six seed from the South in Michigan 71-51.
2001 Men’s Basketball Tournament
Just as they were in 1992, Duke started the 2001 edition of the tournament in the East region as the number one overall seed. They cruised to an opening-round win over 16-seed Monmouth 96-52 and then eliminated nine-seed Missouri in the second round 94-81. In the next two rounds, they knocked off a pair of Los Angeles schools, defeating four-seed UCLA 76-63 and six-seed USC 79-69 to advance to the national championship game for the sixth time since 1990.
In the semi-finals, Duke beat the West’s three-seed in Maryland 95-84 and then claimed another double-digit victory in the championship 82-72 over the Midwest’s two-seed Arizona. The Blue Devils became the second team in tournament history to win every game in the tournament by double digits, joining Michigan State from the year prior.
2010 Men’s Basketball Tournament
After another nine-year drought, Duke took home their fourth national championship in 2010. While they were not the number-one overall seed this time, they were still the number-one seed within the South region. Following a similar pattern, their first two victories were easy ones: 73-44 over 16-seed Arkansas-Pine Bluff and 68-53 over eight-seed California.
After a 70-57 win over four-seed Purdue, Duke faced their toughest challenge in the Elite 8, but they knocked off three-seed Baylor 78-71 to win the South region. In the Final Four, Duke easily defeated the East’s two-seed West Virginia 78-57, and then they barely defeated Cinderella team and the five-seed from the West region, Butler, 61-59 in the championship game. Butler’s Gordon Hayward nearly made a half-court shot at the buzzer, but the shot rolled off the rim.
2015 Men’s Basketball Tournament
In 2015, Duke won their most recent national championship. For the fourth time in their five championships, Duke was a number one seed in the field. They easily defeated 16-seed Robert Morris (85-56) and eight-seed San Diego State (68-49) to advance to the Sweet 16. Five seed Utah gave them a tough test there, but they ended up winning by six, 63-57. They then claimed their spot in the Final Four with a 66-52 win over two-seed Gonzaga. There, Duke faced seven-seed Michigan State from the East, who had made a great run to get there, ultimately being defeated in an 81-61 victory. In the National Championship, Duke defeated Wisconsin, the one seed from the West, 68-63.
When was the last time Duke won the National Championship in basketball?
The last time Duke won a National Championship was in 2015. That year, they defeated Wisconsin in the championship game by a final score of 68-63.