And then there were two. In just three short weeks the field of 68 turned into two teams vying for the National Championship.
What will Monday night’s game look like?
1-seed vs. 1-seed. No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 1 Duke.
Wisconsin is in its second-consecutive Final Four appearance after head coach Bo Ryan has helped the Badgers take their automatic tournament bid and run with it. The Badgers defeated No. 16 Coastal Carolina, No. 8 Oregon, No. 4 North Carolina, No. 2 Arizona and put a massive stop to No. 1 Kentucky’s perfect 38-0 run.
After notching the rematch win against Kentucky, Wisconsin will face-off against the NCAA’s winningest coach, Mike Krzyzewski, and his Blue Devils’ squad.
No. 1 Duke will advanced to the title game for the first time since winning it in 2010. The Blue Devils knocked off No. 16 Robert Morris, No. 8 San Diego State, No. 5 Utah, No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 7 Michigan State in the Final Four.
Two storied programs, two highly successful programs, but only one will walk away with the National Championship title.
Here’s what you need to know about the National Championship game:
No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 1 Duke
Monday, April 6 at 9:18 p.m. Eastern
Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana
The game opened as a pick-eam at both Pinnacle Sports and the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. Fivethirtyeight gives Wisconsin a 53 percent chance to win. Keep up with OddsShark for betting updates and line movement over the next two days.
Duke 80, Wisconsin 70, on December 3, 2014 in Madison.
Record: 35-3 overall, 16-2 Big Ten
Coach: Bo Ryan, 14th season
Offensive Points Per Game: 71.7
Defensive Points Allowed Per Game: 55.7
Scoring Leaders: Frank Kaminsky, 18.4
Rebounding Leader: Frank Kaminsky, 8.1
Assists Leader: Traevon Jackson, 2.9
Record: 34-4 overall, 15-3 ACC
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski, 34th season
Offensive Points Per Game: 80.6
Defensive Points Allowed Per Game: 65.3
Scoring Leader: Jahlil Okafor, 17.8
Rebounding Leader: Jahlil Okafor, 8.8
Assists Leader: Tyus Jones, 5.8
Wisconsin 75, Duke 70
Ok, ok, ok…well considering I wasn’t expecting this matchup and was slightly hoping to witness history, I’m going to go with the team who put a halt to that historic run and pick Wisconsin.
Yes, the Badgers will claim the program’s first National Championship since 1941.
Of course I’m showing love for the Big Ten, but I’m also thinking about the experience, height and the fact the Badgers just took it to the nation’s No. 1 team, undefeated (well formerly) Kentucky.
Don’t get me wrong, Duke is a very strong team. The Blue Devils have the nation’s top high school recruit and NBA Draft prospect in their starting five. They also have the NCAA’s winningest coach at the helm in Coach K. And while he’s going for the fifth National Championship of his career, I’m going to say, “Not this year sir!” (with gusto)
I’m going with Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky, Sam Dekker and coach Bo Ryan on this one. Wisconsin has seven players returning from last year’s Final Four team and, as mentioned several times, knocked off the Wildcats in thrilling fashion.
Expect great things from Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow, but expect greater things from Wisky.
It’ll definitely be a great game, full of excitement and passion and one that will come down to the wire for the National Championship on Monday, April 6.