Wisconsin is equally impressive on defense averaging 50.1 points per game, 6th fewest in country. Although Wisconsin does not have young talent like that of their ACC counterpart they still return four of five starters, led by senior Frank Kaminsky. After defeating Oklahoma in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament over the weekend Kaminsky was named MVP. Also, Kaminsky leads the Badgers in points, blocks, rebounds, and steals. The senior seven-footer jumped onto the scene last year in Wisconsin’s Final Four run where Kaminsky proved to be a match-up nightmare through his crafty defense and rebounding and inside-out scoring ability.
Furthermore, despite most of Duke’s players having less than a month of college basketball experience they move the ball extremely well lead by their point guard duo of Tyus Jones, a freshman, and Quinn Cook, a senior. Jones leads the team with 6.0 assists per game while Cook follows close behind with 4.0. As a result, Duke has the ability to not just score, but give one of their multiple talented players the ball in a position on the floor where they can be most effective. For that reason, Duke should be able to handle Wisconsin’s defense just as good if not better than other team has to this point this season.
In addition, while Wisconsin relies heavily on Kaminsky they have other able weapons in Nigel Hayes and Duje Dukan. Both have shown the ability to shoot and make the three ball this year. Hayes, 6-7, and Dukan, 6-9, also combine for an average of 12.1 rebounds a game to go along with Kaminsky’s 8.7. While Duke does have talent they have yet to face a team as versatile and with as much size as this Badger squad.
All in all, as tip-off approaches there is no doubt this game is as good as any to this point this year and that there will be a tournament atmosphere in Madison Wednesday night. Duke holds a 13-2 record all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. One of which came to Wisconsin back in 2009, the same season as Duke’s last national title.
Stock Sez: Duke 79, Wisconsin 76
Everyone knows Jahlil Okafor and Frank Kaminsky will play big roles. Although guys like Quinn Cook and Amile Jefferson, the two captains, will be the ones who turn the tide of this game. Duke fans have seen Cook’s potential throughout his first three years at Duke, but this year Cook seems to have found himself like never before. Like all coaches want to see out of their seniors Cook just looks like he been there before no matter the situation and as though he always knows what he is doing. Cook is playing extremely smart, making good decisions with the ball while still knowing when to look for his shot(Not to mention its going in, shooting 50%, 43% from three, and averaging 15.6 points per game). On the other hand, Jefferson has been dominant on the boards with 8.9 rebounds per game. Expect Jefferson to counter much of Wisconsin’s attack on the glass while being able to match defensively the height and length of guys like Nigel Hayes.