We’re just several hours away from the culmination of the 2015 NCAA Tournament and it will be Wisconsin vs. Duke in the Finals. Duke is a four-time National Champion, while Wisconsin is hunting for its second; the first coming way back in 1941. As an institution, Duke has the experience advantage as far as competing in a game with this much on the line. As far as players go through, Wisconsin has more veterans on its roster.
Arguably, one of the most important factors in the game will be the match-up between Blue Devil freshman Jahlil Okafor and Badger senior Frank Kaminsky. Duke handed Wisconsin its first loss for the season on December 3, 80-70, but it was Kaminsky who outperformed Okafor for the night. Jahlil was just limited to 13 points, while Frank scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds. While both big men will be relied upon by their teams heavily during the Final game of the tournament, they could not be more different. Kaminsky is a big-time scorer, who has ice-cold “clutch” flowing through his veins. Okafor, is an under-the-radar, solid, big man who has quietly devoted his focus on his team. Jahlil will have his hands full on the defensive end, with Kaminsky’s versatility and comfort level of scoring from the post and long range making him a nightmare to guard. Duke’s number one plan on defense will be to limit the recent Naismith awardee as much as possible and let his teammates put the points on the board. While that’s easier said than done, the alternative of allowing him dominate will be a headache for coach Mike Krzyewski and his boys. That said, while it will be all hands on deck to stifle Kaminsky, Okafor and company will need to keep an eye out for forward Sam Dekker, who has been there to take up the slack during games where Kaminsky is off to slow starts.
On the other hand, the Blue Devils will also need a game plan to get points up as well. The Badgers are very stingy with their fouls and Duke players won’t find many opportunities to grab some free points from the charity line in this affair. That’s where Okafor will come in. Even though he is more notable for his defensive skills, Jahlil needs to make enough of an impact in the post, draw the double team, to free up his teammates for open and easy shots.
The stage is now set for NCAA fans around the world to enjoy one hell of an exciting championship game.