Duke Blue Devils Win 2010 NCAA Basketball National Championship
On April 5, 2010, Butler and Duke faced off in what The New York Times called "the most eagerly awaited championship game in years". Butler became the first team to play in the championship game in its home city since UCLA in 1968.
Duke jumped out to a quick 6–1 lead to start the game, but Butler rallied back, taking a 12–11 lead at the 12:28 mark of the first half. At the under eight-minute TV timeout, Butler held a 20–18 lead. After the timeout, Duke went on a 8–0 run to take a 26–20 lead. Butler coach Brad Stevens then called a timeout. With starters Matt Howard and Ronald Nored on the bench in foul trouble, backup center Avery Jukes came up big for Butler. Jukes hit two three-pointers and a made tip-in en route to 10 first half points, tying his single-game season high. At half time, Duke's lead stood at 33–32.
The second half was played very closely, with neither team taking a lead larger than two points until a Brian Zoubek layup put Duke up 47–43 with 12:27 remaining. Butler stayed close, keeping within 5 points the rest of the way. With 3:16 to play, Duke took a 60–55 lead on two made free throws by Nolan Smith. Butler missed its next shot, but forced a missed shot and turned Duke over after an offensive rebound. Matt Howard made a layup for Butler to make it a 60–57 game with 1:44 remaining. Smith missed a layup for Duke and Howard got another layup after collecting an offensive rebound on missed three-pointer by Shelvin Mack. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski then called a time out. Kyle Singler missed an open jump shot with 36 seconds remaining, giving Butler a chance to take the lead. Butler was unable to initiate their offense and Stevens called a timeout to set up a play. They were then forced to call their last timeout when they were unable to get the ball in-bounds. Gordon Hayward then missed a short fade-away jumper. Zoubek came down with the rebound, forcing Butler to foul with 3.6 seconds remaining. Zoubek made the first foul shot and then intentionally missed the second, knowing Butler had no timeouts remaining. Hayward was forced to throw up a desperation shot from half court. The ball bounced off the backboard and then the rim. According to analysis by ESPN, Hayward's aim was off by three inches, or less than one degree, on the x-axis. Because a made three-point shot would have resulted in a loss for Duke, some pundits criticized Krzyzewski for his decision to have Zoubek miss the second free throw intentionally. Other pundits however ran various analysis that indicated that it was statistically the correct call.
The 61–59 victory earned Krzyzewski his fourth national championship crown, his second in ten years. The game was the most watched finale in more than 10 years, pulling in average of 23.9 million viewers in the United States. Kyle Singler earned Most Outstanding Player honors with 19 points and eight rebounds.