USA Today Sports
The NCAA Tournament national championship game features two
front-runners for the Wooden Award, two of the top coaches in the game
and two teams looking to ride the momentum from impressive victories on
Saturday. When fellow No. 1 seeds Wisconsin and Duke square off Monday
in Indianapolis, all eyes will be focused on the matchup between the
Badgers’ Frank Kaminsky and the Blue Devils’ Jahlil Okafor, although
both big men are complemented by plenty of talent.
Perhaps nowhere is the talent display greater than on the sidelines,
where Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is aiming for his fifth national title –
and his third in Indianapolis – while Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan is trying to
lead the Badgers to their first championship since 1941. Kaminsky scored
20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds Saturday as the Badgers upset
previously undefeated Kentucky 71-64. The Blue Devils took Saturday’s
first semifinal with an 81-61 triumph against Michigan State led by
Okafor’s 18 points, six rebounds and two blocks. This game also is a
rematch from a Dec. 3 contest that saw Duke shoot 65.2 percent in
handing Wisconsin one of its three losses – and its only home defeat.
TV: 9:18 p.m. ET, CBS
LINE HISTORY: Most shops opened the game at a pick’em, but that’s since been moved to Duke +1.
INJURY REPORT: No injuries to report.
ABOUT WISCONSIN (36-3): The Badgers have won 21 of their last 22
games, including each of the last four victories by exactly seven
points, and avenged a 2014 Final Four loss to Kentucky with Saturday’s
emotional victory. “This is something we’ve been talking about since Day
1 this season,” Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker told reporters. “Look
where we are now.” Kaminsky (18.7 points, 8.1 rebounds) was recently
named the Associated Press Player of the Year and is the favorite for
the Wooden Award, while Dekker (13.9 points) has averaged 20.6 points on
61.3 percent shooting during the NCAA Tournament.
ABOUT DUKE (34-4): The
Blue Devils have won 17 of 18, capped by a rout of Michigan State in
which Okafor was complemented by fellow freshman star Justise Winslow
(19 points, nine rebounds) and sturdy senior Quinn Cook (17 points).
“It’s an amazing thing, I mean, just to be in the Final Four, but to
play on Monday night is the ultimate honor,” Krzyzewski said to the
media. “I hope our guys get their rest and we can get the same type of
effort we got tonight. Now they’ve got a chance to play for a national
championship, and damn, damn, how great is that?” The keys for the Blue
Devils will include getting off to a better start – they overcame an
early 14-6 deficit versus Michigan State – and improved 3-point
shooting, as they were 2-of-10 against the Spartans.
*Under is 6-1 in Blue Devils last 7 overall.
*Blue Devils are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
*Badgers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
*Over is 5-1 in Badgers last 6 overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: According to Covers Consensus, 51 percent of bettors are on the Badgers.