When you look at this national championship game, it would appear that the Duke Blue Devils would have the experience edge, since this is the ninth title game for coach Mike Krzyzewski. But the truth of the matter is, Duke is far less experienced than the Wisconsin Badgers, who just pulled off an epic victory over team (the Kentucky Wildcats) who thought they might be on their way to a 40-0 season. Now these clubs meet with a tip-off time of 9:20 PM ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, with all the marbles on the line.
Let’s lay out the records for you; Wisconsin, which brought back four starters from last year’s club, is currently 36-3 straight up and 21-17 against the basketball pointspread. Duke, which starts three freshmen, is 34-4 straight up and 24-14 against the points. Wisconsin has had more close games then the Blue Devils, who have created a lot of distance between themselves and opponents by playing defense at what would appear to be a higher level than they did during the regular season.
Wisconsin seems to be demonstrating that having experienced people on the floor really counts for something. One of those players is Frank Kaminsky, who has just been named player of the year and who led the way against Kentucky in the 71-64 victory with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Over 139.5 points -110/Under 139.5 points -110
Can Wisconsin get itself back up emotionally in just a 48-hour period, especially considering the significance of the victory on Final Four Saturday? Well, that really has not appeared to be a problem for recent teams in similar positions, but one thing that could be a factor here is that the last three times that two teams have met in the finals in a rematch of a regular-season contest, the team that had won previously won again. If that held here, that would point toward Duke, which took a 80-70 victory in Madison back on December 3. In that ballgame, the Blue Devils shot a blistering 65% from the field, and they were not compromised on the boards either. Wisconsin hit only 40% of their shots in that game, but Sam Decker, who has been so outstanding in the NCAA Tournament, was dealing with a sprained ankle and was not overly effective.
BetAnySports customers who follow analytics are aware that Wisconsin is ranked #1 in the nation in offensive efficiency, and that is largely because they almost never turn the ball over. This is also a very active team in the half-court, using Bo Ryan’s “swing” offense, and that means that many times you are going to find the big men out on the perimeter with the guards and wingmen making cuts to the basket or posting up their opponents. If Duke’s small people are not able to defend against the post-up, that is going to spell trouble. But the guy who was most effective for Wisconsin in the previous meeting was point guard Traevon Jackson, who is really just getting back into playing shape after having to sit out 19 games with a broken foot. He had 25 points, including three triples, in the first encounter.
Duke has allowed only 55 points per game during the tournament. They held Robert Morris, San Diego State and Utah all under 37%, then pretty much snuffed out can Gonzaga, which had the highest shooting percentage in the nation, holding them the 44%, and overcame a slow start to stifle Michigan State, which shot only 40% from the field in the 20-point Duke victory on Saturday.