In looking ahead to Monday’s match-up, both teams are playing as well as they have all year and are much different from their first meeting. Duke has transitioned from a team that won games based off of its ability to just outscore teams. Although now one game away from their fifth championship Coach K’s squad’s defense was at times, throughout the tournament, looked just as reliable as its offense. In addition, Wisconsin is coming off the biggest win in college basketball this season, defeating the previously unbeaten Kentucky. This Badger team not only has proven its talent on both sides of the floor, but shown their resiliency after barely losing to Kentucky last year in the national semifinal game. Instead of rolling over this Bo Ryan led Wisconsin team fought their way back beating some of the same teams they had to get through last year, such as Oregon, Arizona, and then of course Kentucky. Between the duo of Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker there is, and has been, no team these Badgers can’t beat. Due to the ability of these to score from inside and out they can handle any defensive scheme thrown their way.
Keys to Game:
Wisconsin will win if…they can handle Duke’s newfound defensive pressure. When these two teams met in December Duke was much different defensively. Wisconsin has found away to handle the pressure applied to them versus Arizona and Kentucky. There is no reason they can’t find a way to beat Duke’s defense as well. On the defensive end, if Wisconsin is to slow Duke’s offensive attack they will have to be able to contain Jahlil Okafor in one-on-one match-ups, something no team has been able to accomplish yet.
Duke will win its 5th title if… they can consistently come up with rebounds. Part of the reason Wisconsin was successful against Kentucky is that they were able to compete on the glass by boxing out on every single possession. Also, Duke will have to find a way to slow down at least either Kaminsky or Dekker. Back in December the Blue Devils were able to slow Kaminsky to an extent but that could be attributed to the fact that they didn’t have to worry as much about an injured Kaminsky. We know Okafor can bang inside but somebody will have to match-up with “Frank the Tank” in the post.
Stock Sez: Duke 79 Wisconsin 78. It won’t be easy but Okafor will go for 25 and 10 further solidifying his case for first overall pick and Duke hangs number 5 at Cameron. #StriveForFive