NCAA Championship Preview
(1) Wisconsin Badgers vs (1) Duke Blue Devils
Time: 9:25PM Eastern
Radio: Westwood One Sports
Spread: Wisconsin -1
Only a year removed from the bizarre championship that saw a 7 seed take on an 8 seed, the universe has over corrected itself as we now get ready to watch two 1 seeds face off with everything on the line. The consensus play was on Kentucky vs Arizona so in spite of the chalkiness of that matchup of one seeds, we at least have Duke vs Wisconsin.
Wait did I really just type that? At least its DUKE!!! …I did, filling the role of the poor little rich kid. I am actually happy that Duke is taking on Wisconsin in what should be one of the better NCAA National Championship games we have seen in some time.
Wisconsin Will Win If:
If they continue on the roll they were on in the game against Kentucky. Not only did the Badgers favor from calls from the ref, but also from getting nearly every 50/50 ball that was in dispute. Badgers just seemed to have things going their way the entire game, part due to good fortune from the bounce of the ball but also in part to the hustle & scrappy nature of the team. If they can continue that in the championship game they’ll really be set.
Other keys for a Badger victory are continuing to hit open shots from behind the arc, Kentucky didn’t do a great job contesting threes. Continuing to get to the line and hit their free throws will also be important, but the biggest key will be slowing down Okafor inside the paint. If he can consistently post up near the basket, Badgers will be in trouble. They need to deny the entry pass to him or force him to plant and pivot farther from the hoop.
Duke Will Win If:
Pretty simply this matchup could come down to the 3 pt line. Duke shoots them well and defends the 3pt line well. Wisconsin shoots them well but is dreadful at defending the 3 pt line. I would imagine that Coach K’s game plan will attempt to stretch the very good interior defense of Wisconsin out with the 3 ball, to then create easy opportunities around the basket for Okafor and friends.
On the defensive side Duke just has to do what they have been doing, raise the defensive intensity early and make Wisconsin feel that pressure. Oh and force Dekker and Frank the Tank into difficult shots, Kentucky did a great job of letting them get to their spot almost every time down the court, it would be best if Duke tried a different approach.
Quite frankly Wisconsin is lucky to be here after a slew of horrible calls that lead me to believe the refs had some Badger action in their back pocket.
Meanwhile Duke rolled and continued to impress with great efficiency on both sides of the ball and most importantly something Kentucky lacked, THE THREE BALL! Shocked that Duke is the dog here and it pains my Duke hating bones to do this but the play here is DUKE ALLL DAY!
Before I made my pick I guessed the spread and I had it at Duke -2.5. The fact that Duke is getting points makes me think the public is thinking the Badgers are for real. I have to fade the public and take the Blue Devils here.
Oakafor is the best player on the court and I’ll take Coach K over Bo Ryan any day of the week. The win over Kentucky was the Badger’s Super Bowl, tough to imagine they will be able to bring that same intensity two days later against a great Duke Team.