Here we are! Wisconsin did the improbable and knocked off undefeated Kentucky 71-64 and have secured their spot in the national title game against Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils. Wisconsin, the one-seed in the West, ran through their bracket to a meeting with Kentucky, who had been buzzsawing opponents left and right all season long only to give them a taste of their own medicine and a crushing lone loss on the season to end their run. Duke, the one-seed in the South, ran through what was considered one of the two weaker brackets and took down Michigan State in the final four in a thorough 81-61 beatdown of the Spartans.
Keys to Victory:
1. Do not, I repeat, do not crash the lane and double team Okafor. Perhaps more deadly are the Duke guards, and perhaps Okafor's best play this year has been passing out of double teams to the open shooter. Duke wants that and Wisconsin needs to stay disciplined while Kaminsky goes one on one with Okafor.
2. Sam Dekker. This one is pretty obvious, Dekker has been on fire in the tournament and probably made a few million doing it. If Dekker can continue his hot streak it will stretch out the defense and let Kaminsky play straight up with Okafor.
3. Offensive rebounds. Wisconsin crushed Kentucky on the offensive glass for most of the game and it made the difference in the game with second and third chance points. Do that, and the B1G has another national title to add to this school year.
Going away from the obvious, the X factor in this game is actually the matchups in the backcourt. Can Wisconsin contain the guard play of Duke? Like Kaminsky, Okafor will get his, but the key matchup is what backcourt can win. Can the combination of Koenig and Jackson contain Jones and Cook? This will go a long way to determine the outcome of this game. As mentioned above, staying on your man and not crashing the lane will be key as Duke will crush you from three point range otherwise.
There is only one prediction and that is a Wisconsin victory. No, not because of conference homerism, but seriously who roots for Duke? I'll go with 74-68 here.