It's on to the NCAA Tournament Finals and I will have Free Pick in the game between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Duke Blue Devils, which will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana on Monday, April 6. The game has a start time of 9:18 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on CBS. Current Vegas betting odds have the Badgers listed as 1 point favorites, while the total is set at 139.5.
Analysis: The Wisconsin Badgers had another very nice year and came into the tournament as a #1 seed in the West. The Badgers have now won 11 games in a row and in the Final Four they shocked everyone by beating the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats by a score of 71-64. For the year the Badgers have now gone 35-3 overall and they will be looking for their first Title since 1941. Wisconsin has gone 14-3 ATS in their last 17 vs. the ACC and 45-22-1 ATS in their last 68 non-conference games. The Badgers have been a good offensive team this year, ranking 51st in scoring (71.7 ppg), 17th in shooting (48.1%), 81st in 3 point shooting (36.5%) and 10th in FT shooting (76.6%). The defense for this team has been excellent this year, ranking 12th in points allowed (57.9 ppg), 163rd in defensive FG% (42.7%) and 316th in 3 point defense (37.6%).
The Duke Blue Devils have has a solid year and they really seemed to get better once Rasheed Sulaimon was kicked off the team. For the season Duke is 34-4 overall, including 20-2 in their last 22 games with both losses coming to Notre Dame. Coach K is seeking his 5th title with Duke, who got to this game with an easy 20 point win over Michigan State in the Final 4. Duke has been a very good offensive team this year, ranking 5th in scoring (79.6 ppg), 3rd in shooting (50.2%), 30th in 3 point shooting (38.7%) and 156th in FT shooting (69.6%). The defense for this team has been solid as they come in ranked, 111th in points allowed (64.2 ppg), 128th in defensive FG% (42.2%) and 41st in 3 point defense (31.4%).
Pick: I will be going with the Under in this one. The Badgers played an uptempo game vs Kentucky and yet down the stretch the game barely squeaked over the total of 131. I see this one being slow for most of the game and slowing down even more for the latter stages of it when every possession means so much. Duke has shown that they can play defense, especially when they go to the Zone, but they are also a good man-to-man defensive team and they play the 3 point line really well because of that. The Dukies are 41st in the nation at defending the 3 and that is a big part of the Wisconsin offense. The Badgers are not great at defending the three, but still overall this is a very good defensive squad and Bo will have them ready to defend this Duke offense. Both of these teams can play slow down ball and I really look for the Badgers to try an do that, because they really won't have a shot if this game is played in the 70s.
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