It’s finally here. The NCAA Title game. Two number one seeds will meet: Duke and Wisconsin. Duke played Michigan St. in the Final Four, winning with ease with a final score of 81-61. Meanwhile, Wisconsin accomplished a feat no other team has this season, beating Kentucky with a final score of 71-64. Now, two of college’s elite teams will face-off in what should be a tight battle.
There will be several talented and big names in this game. Frank Kaminsky and Jahlil Okafor are each respected team’s star players. Kamisnky was named AP Player of the Year while Okafor won ACC Player of the Year. Every game both player gets their’s and that won’t change tonight. The two key players, however, for this game revolves around Wisconsin’s small forward Sam Dekker and Duke’s small forward Justise Winslow. Both players have been clutch and near dominant during their team’s tourney run. Sam Dekker has averaged 20.6 points and 5 rebounds for the Badgers, including in recording a double-double against North Carolina in the Sweet 16. Dekker has been nothing short of amazing. He has displayed the ability to shoot, hitting 50% from 3 in the tourney, and has come up in the clutch, hitting big shots against Kentucky and Arizona. Meanwhile, Justise Winslow has also been excellent for the Blue Devils. Winslow has double-doubles against Utah and San Diego State, and was one rebound shy of a double-double against Michigan State. Winslow can do it all. He plays great defense, can score averaging 15 points per game during Duke’s run and can rebound very well averaging 9.4 rebounds per game. Both players are keys for their team’s and both should continue their excellent play. The player who outperforms the other should have their team celebrating an NCAA title tonight.
Keys to Tonight’s Game
Both Wisconsin and Duke really don’t have any weaknesses. Both have the top offenses in college basketball and both play great defense. Neither team turnovers the ball either. Most importantly, both teams have Hall of Fame head coaches in Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan and Duke’s Coach K. Tonight’s game may have the outcome decided by who gets hot from 3, which both teams have shown they are capable of. However, both teams like to play at different pace, with Wisconsin playing a more slow down game compared to Duke’s tendency to try and push the ball. With that said, tonight’s key will be which team can dictate the tempo. If Duke can attack in transition and score, the advantage goes their way. If Wisconsin can prevent transition buckets and keep the game in a half-court set, the game favors them. Either way, expect a hard fought battle all the way to the end.
My prediction is a Duke win with a final score of 72-68. Duke has excellent and quick players who can thrive in transition. Wisconsin has a tendency to struggle with quick players, as shown in their lost against Maryland when Dez Wells had a field day by attacking the basket. I think Tyus Jones and and Justise Winslow will have big games due to this, with the night ending in Coach K winning his fifth NCAA Championship.