It isn’t the matchup that many expected at the start of the Final Four, but Wisconsin (36-3; 16-2) and Duke (34-4; 15-3) will meet in Monday’s college basketball national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The No.1-seeded Badgers upset undefeated Kentucky in the national semifinals, while the No.1-seeded Blue Devils topped No.7-seeded Michigan State in easy fashion.
After winning their Elite Eight game, Kentucky was the odds-on favorite to win the title. But the Wildcats couldn’t get past Wisconsin, who advanced to Monday’s contest with an historic 71-64 victory. With a win over a team that started the year with 38 consecutive victories, the Badgers find themselves favored to win the championship.
At the conclusion of Saturday’s games, Wisconsin vs. Duke was initially set as a pick’em by Las Vegas oddsmakers. With the public favoring the Badgers, the Blue Devils are getting one point just hours before tip-off. It’s the first time in the 2015 NCAA Tournament that Duke is the underdog. They were five-point favorites against Michigan State, while Wisconsin was a five-point underdog against Kentucky.
There’s been a slight change in the over/under, as well as the point spread. Opening at 141 points, the over/under has dropped to 140 points at most sportsbooks. Duke is the No.4 scoring team in the nation, averaging 80.6 points per contest. Wisconsin is averaging 71.9 points per game, but they’ve scored at least 71 points in their last 10 contests.
Monday’s game is a rematch from Dec. 3 when Duke visited Wisconsin. The Blue Devils beat the Badgers, 80-70, led by 22 points from Tyus Jones. The Badgers got 25 points from Traevon Jackson in the loss.
The spotlight will be featured on Frank Kaminsky and Jahlil Okafor, who have proven to be the two best players in college basketball this year. Kaminsky was named the 2015 AP Player of the Year, averaging 18.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Okafor was second in the voting, averaging 17.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 66.7 percent from the field.
Bo Ryan has led Wisconsin to the NCAA Tournament in each of his 14 seasons as the team’s head coach, but the Badgers haven’t won the national championship since 1941. Duke last won the title in 2010, and a victory would give Mike Krzyzewski his fifth national championship