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Duke’s First Championship Game

This SI account is pretty great

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John Wooden
John Wooden and Vic Bubas, both natives of Indiana, dueled in the 1964 title game which kicked off UCLA’s long reign of national dominance.

People routinely expect Duke to make the Final Four now even though they’re not always good enough to be a solid bet. That wasn’t always the case though.

In the ‘60s, Vic Bubas got Duke to the Final Four three times: 1963, 1964 and 1966.

Of course the ACC only had one bid then and you had to go through the ACC Tournament to get it. So getting there was no easy task.

In 1964, Duke got to the finals for the first time and lost to UCLA as John Wooden won his first championship.

Sports Illustrated’s Vault has old issues of the magazine. They’re sometimes hard to read but its worth it to read this account of the game and the Final Four. You’ll like it other than the ending...but you already know who won.

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