NCAA Tournament Picks: Wisconsin vs. Duke to Go 'Over'

David Lawrence

Monday, April 6, 2015 4:04 PM GMT

So this one is for all of the marbles. The Duke Blue Devils and Wisconsin Badgers were both No. 1 seeds in the March Madness tournament and now they’ll square off for the title. 

The Wisconsin Badgers Can Win Because…
They slayed the dragon. Although Duke has had a nice tournament run, they don’t have any signature wins like Wisconsin. Let’s face it: everyone had the Kentucky Wildcats to win it all, even the NCAA Tournament odds makers had them listed as favorites every game. And after everyone saw Kentucky beat Wisconsin last year and saw that the Badgers were their main hurdle this year, nobody thought the results would be any different. However, the Badgers not only beat Kentucky but dictated the pace and did what they wanted for most of the game.

When you look at what Duke had to go through, it’s probably fair to say that they had the easier path. They started with Robert Morris, then San Diego State, then Utah, then Gonzaga and then No. 7 seed Michigan State. With all due respect, San Diego State had flaws, Utah slumped down the stretch of the season, Gonzaga was questioned coming into the tournament and Michigan State made a nice run, but was flawed. Duke hasn’t faced anyone like Kentucky or Arizona, yet Wisconsin has withstood both tests and beat them both.

And Kentucky was supposed to have the best defense in the bracket, so if Wisconsin can tear them up, then they probably won’t have many problems with Duke, who was known to have their defense as an Achilles heel heading into March Madness.

Could Duke beat Wisconsin tonight and win the National Title?

The Duke Blue Devils Can Win Because…
They’ve already beaten Wisconsin once this season. Remember, the Blue Devils beat the Badgers 80-70 and that’s when Wisconsin was at home. Now that they are on a neutral site, things you go even more so in Duke’s favor.

The issue for Wisconsin on that night – and likely on Monday night – is that the Blue Devils offense was unstoppable. They scored 80 points while shooting a whopping 65.2% from the field. They also hit 58.3% of their threes while collecting 13 free throws. What’s scary is that Jahlil Okafor didn’t even have that strong of a game the first time as he had just 13 points with six rebounds.

If the Blue Devils get a strong effort from Okafor, they should be able to do what they’ve been doing all tournament long – force the Badgers defense to collapse inside, opening up the perimeter – and have their way.

 

Outlook
This is as close of a matchup as you can get. Both teams are peaking in terms of their performances and both are extremely confident. The Badgers just knocked off the best team in the country while the Blue Devils smoked the Spartans.

Although my slight lean on the side is to Wisconsin, I like the over in this one instead for my NCAA Tournament picks. We should so both offenses work at a fluid pace and we saw 150 points between the sides in the first meeting. With Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker leading the Badgers, and Okafor and Jones leading the Blue Devils, look for plenty of points in this one.

NCAA Tournament Pick: Over 139 at Bodog

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