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Preview: Duke vs Wisconsin National Championship Game

April 6, 2015

There are just two left standing. Sixty-eight teams started and just two remain. Tonight in Indianapolis, the college basketball national champion will be crowned.

The college basketball world was shocked on Saturday night when the Wisconsin Badgers upset the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats to reach the national title games versus the Duke Blue Devils.

The two teams were No. 1 seeds in their respective regions and odds makers have not given either side that much of an advantage in this matchup. Some books have Duke favored by 1 point while the majority have the game as a tossup or pick ‘em. The most common point total on the board is 140.5.

When the line opened on Saturday night after the Wisconsin-Kentucky game, the Badgers were put up as 1-point chalk on some books with other opening with pick ‘em. The point total opened on 140 and on most has been bet up to 140.5.

These two squared off on December 3 in Madison, Wisconsin, with Duke walking away with a big road win 80-70 as a 4.5-point road dog. The Blue Devils outshot the Badgers 65% to 41%. Both teams sported somewhat different lineups at the time, but the star players remain the same for each.

Wisconsin has won one national title but not since 1941, while Duke has won four with its latest in 2010.

The Badgers are 3-0 against the number in its past three games with all three cashing OVER. Duke is 5-0 against the spread during this tournament, with the UNDER cashing in 6 of its past 7 games overall.

Wisconsin could be vulnerable to a letdown. Immediately following the Badgers win on Saturday, the players were celebrating as if they had won the national title. Bo Ryan the Wisconsin coach must get each of his players refocused quickly for the Monday game.

Wisconsin’s two top players are Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. Duke has a host of top players including a trio of freshmen starters in Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow. Quinn Cook is Duke’s starting point guard who runs the offense for the Blue Devils.

Both teams are known for their defense and both have strong offenses, so the game should be a battle of who can stop the other on the defensive end more often.

Remember this: Duke has already defeated Wisconsin this season; Duke’s victory was even more impressive that Wisconsin’s in the Final Four; and Wisconsin players looked like they had already won the national title on Saturday.