NCAA Championship Betting: Duke vs. Wisconsin

NCAA Championship Betting: Duke vs. Wisconsin

With apologies to Arizona, Villanova, Gonzaga, and several other quality hopefuls, three teams entered the 2015 NCAA Tournament as legitimate choices to cut down the nets at the Final Four in Indianapolis. Those teams of course being Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Duke. So it seems only fitting that Monday night’s title tilt features Wisconsin and Duke. Both the Badgers and Blue Devils are playing at another level and have been for weeks. The former have taken down tourney favorites Arizona and Kentucky on their journey to the Final, while the latter have held off feisty contenders such as Utah, Gonzaga, and Michigan State to reach the last game of the season. Whoever comes away victorious, it should be a nip and tuck matchup. Here’s a preview and prediction for the 2015 NCAA Basketball Championship.


The Badgers stared down undefeated Kentucky and never blinked. Not even when it looked like the ‘Cats were ready to pounce as they had so many times before during the last five months. Frank Kaminsky saved one of his best performances of the season with a tremendous 20 and 10 effort, and Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes were their normal steady selves. Where Wisconsin really shined though was on the defensive end of the floor; they shockingly dominated the battle of the boards with a 34-22 edge, thus limiting the Wildcats to repeated one-and-done trips. They must do the same versus Duke, a much better perimeter shooting opponent. Kaminsky must attack Jahlil Okafor early and often and make him defend 15 feet and beyond; the talented Devil freshman is uniquely gifted offensively, but often a defensive liability. Locking up and challenging Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones on the three-point line is also critical.

The Blue Devils beat Wisconsin way back in November with torrid shooting and a breakneck pace. Tyus Jones attacked the rim with ease, and Okafor did just enough to keep Kaminsky occupied. The difference between then and now is the emergence of Justise Winslow, who has been Duke’s best all-around player in the post. He rebounds, draws fouls, forces steals, and knocks down jumpers on a nightly basis. His multifaceted skill set is the biggest advantage Coach K can lean on, especially if he elects to have him guard Kaminsky. The Devils didn’t need three-point shots to crush Michigan State, but it’s imperative that Cook, Jones, and Matt Jones convert open looks. The Badgers are efficient, unflappable, and rarely sloppy in their decision-making. If a window is even slightly opened, Duke must slip through to improve their odds. They don’t like to play from behind, so getting off to a fast start will be important.

Wisconsin is 7-2-1 ATS in its last ten tourney games. Duke is 5-0 ATS in this year’s Big Dance. A blowout in either direction seems highly unlikely. Both lineups are evenly matched and well-coached. The Devils possess more pure talent, but the Badgers’ veteran roster didn’t come this far to lose now. This one should be a doozy.

Bet Wisconsin -1