Welcome to the 2015 NCAA Tournament championship game between the Wisconsin Badgers and Duke Blue Devils. I know most of you reading this are still feeling the lamentation from losing in the national semifinal. I know I am. But having reached the 5th stage of grief Sunday afternoon, I am ready to put finis on this season.
For those of you who can’t or won’t watch, I understand. For the rest of us, here is your open thread. Talk about the game here.
A brief look at the matchup
Ken Pomeroy’s stats reckon this game as a 1-point victory for Wisconsin, a 55% chance of winning odds-wise.
Duke is the better defensive team, but they are not by any means as good as Kentucky. Offensively, Kentucky and Duke are similar, although Duke is a little better.
Duke and Kentucky are similar in more ways than they are different, which makes you wonder how Duke wins this if Wisconsin plays at least as well as they did against the Wildcats. But Mike Krzyzewski is a very good big-game coach and has already defeated Bo Ryan in Madison.
Wisconsin must guard the three better than they have been. Duke is a dangerous team from three, and unlike Kentucky, they will shoot them. In the first meeting with Wisconsin, Duke shot lights-out from three, and dominated the paint area. Wisconsin must find a way to make Okafor as inefficient as possible.
Duke, conversely, must hold Wisconsin down from three. If Wisconsin shoots 40% or more from the arc, it will be very tough for Duke to win.
Wisconsin’s big-game experience on this kind of stage should be an advantage in this game. How much of an advantage depends more on the Badgers than the Blue Devils.
This should be a good game, and it is effectively a pick-em. If Wisconsin’s offense is as unstoppable as it was against Kentucky and they can offer some resistance to Okafor, I think they have a great shot to win. If Duke is hot from three and Okafor scores at will in the paint, I think Duke wins.
Enjoy the game.