Duke Wins National Title in 2020 Tourney Simulation


Monday night was supposed to be the National Championship Game for the 2019-20 college basketball season.

Of course, the season got cut short, ending three days before Selection Sunday, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the last month, there have been several attempts to fantasize about what might have happened if the season played out. Some brackets used fan voting to determine winners. Some used an expert’s opinion. SI’s Pat Forde saw 2-seed Duke lose to Houston in the second round and Kansas end up cutting down the nets.

Others used various simulations to determine the winner. In Fivethirtyeight.com’s model, Duke was upset by 11-seed East Tennessee State in the second round, while Michigan State won.

The folks at Wolverine Studios, however, saw a different result. They used their Draft Day Sports, College Basketball 2020 game to run a simulation of the tournament.

Duke was a 3-seed in their simulation and took out Hofstra in the first round, 74-53. From there, Duke topped Penn State, 76-66 to reach the Sweet 16.

In the Elite Eight, the Blue Devils dumped 2-seed Villanova, by a 97-68 rout. Then Duke made the Final Four with a 78-73 win over top seed Dayton.

The Blue Devils beat 1-seed Kansas in the national semifinals, 67-50, then faced fellow 3-seed Michigan State, who beat 1-seed Gonzaga, 90-89 in the other semifinal. In Monday Night’s National Championship Game, Duke beat the Spartans 84-75 to win a sixth national championship.

Here’s a look at the full bracket from the Wolverine Studios’ simulation.

bracket sim
Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Shawn, such a great article! The second photo in your video (appears at 0:05) is of me and the group I tented with for the UNC game this year- I would love to have this photo since it is one of my last memories of college with my senior spring being cut short because of COVID-19. Is there any way you could email it to me? It would mean so much!