Bo Ryan and Mike Kryzyzewski will square off for a second time this season for the National Championship.
For the first time since 2008, there will be two #1 seeds facing off in the National Championship. For a lot of us, the Badgers are the surprise team to have gotten this far. Their road to the title game has been filled with stiff competition; arguably the toughest road to the Final Four of any of the four that made it. They’ve beaten the likes of Oregon, North Carolina, Arizona and Kentucky, with their toughest matchup still to come. Duke, on the other hand, hasn’t faced the level of competition that Wisconsin has, but they have proven to be one of the best teams in college basketball’s recent memory after their dismantling of their opponents on the way to the championship game and ACC play. For both sides, the matchups will be key, and each team will be looking for sparks to help initiate the runs that have carried them this far. We all remember what happened in Madison in December, the first time these two teams met, as Duke shot the lights out in the Kohl Center; however, both teams have grown and matured throughout the season, and are looking to make the final stride for a national championship Monday night
Both the Badgers and Blue Devils have stellar backcourts that allow them to function the way they like to on both ends of the floor. When Wisconsin lost Traevon Jackson to a foot injury earlier in the year, Bronson Koenig was asked to step up and become the starting point guard. He has done more than just step up; he has become the floor general that Wisconsin has needed, as Koenig has distributed the basketball magnificently thus far. Alongside arguably the best perimeter defender in college basketball in Josh Gasser, the starting backcourt of the Badgers executes Bo Ryan’s offense beautifully – stout defense and smart offense. Neither guard averages a full turnover per game, and both have been known to hit big time shots when the Badgers need them. Oh, and Traevon Jackson, the starting point guard from the Final Four squad last season and Wisconsin’s highest scoring player in the first matchup with 25 points, comes off the bench. Lastly, Zak Showalter has given Bo Ryan huge minutes in the tournament, and his stifling defense could also be used to stop Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook.
For Duke, the point guard position is a hair more explosive. Tyus Jones has seen his draft stock climb all season. Originally, Jones came to Duke as part of a package deal with Jahlil Okafor, but he has made a name for himself all season. He penetrates the lane masterfully for a freshman, and has done nothing but score and tally assists all year, averaging nearly six assists per game. Next to Jones is senior Quinn Cook, a guard who has demonstrated all season that ice flows through his veins. As a senior in a Coach K system, Cook is often looked to as the calming factor for the Dukies. He can do it all as a guard – he scores, passes well and fights for every 50-50 ball. Both guards play over 33 minutes per game, but rarely show signs of fatigue on the court. We can’t forget about Matt Jones, who has started in place of Amile Jefferson and been shooting well in the tournament. If he starts this game, it will be interesting to see Wisconsin’s two-guard lineup vs. Duke’s three-guard lineup. I expect Jefferson to play more minutes in this game than M. Jones for these reasons. 
Advantage: Duke – Jones and Cook have been arguably part of one of the best backcourt in college basketball this season. They are both such intelligent basketball players with sweet jump shots that it’s hard to pick against them. They have proven all season that they can match any backcourt and do it convincingly. The advantage is a very small one especially with the dismissal of Rasheed Sulaimon (14 points in first game vs. Wisconsin), as Wisconsin’s backcourt struggles against guard plays when they get out of order, but flourishes in Bo Ryan’s system 90% of the time. 
The Low Block
What is there to say about Jahlil Okafor and Frank Kaminsky that hasn’t already been said 1,000 times? Both are Wooden Award finalists, First Team All-Americans, likely lottery picks, and have carried their teams to the National Championship. This is the matchup that everyone will be watching Monday night, one that we could be seeing next year in the NBA. The intrigue in this matchup comes from the very different styles these two men play. Okafor is a wizard on the low block. He physically dominates down low with his shear size and positioning, but his footwork and passing are rivaled by few. At 6’11” and 270 pounds,  when Okafor establishes his position (which he does frequently), he is nearly impossible to contain on either end of the floor. He throws back weak attempts at the rim on defense, and can overwhelm the opposition on offense. Kaminsky is a bit different in that he is not as physically intimidating as Okafor. Kaminsky can play inside and out, using his length to circumnavigate defenses for open layups and jumpshooting. He leads his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocked shots and steals, making him the pivot point of the Wisconsin team. This matchup will come down to foul trouble and execution. If both of the centers stay out of foul trouble, we could be in for one of the most entertaining duels of the season. 
Advantage: Push – It’s impossible to pick one guy over the other in this situation. Both players have been so dominant all season and in the tournament that picking one over the other would be blasphemous. If one finds foul trouble, the other is sure to wreak havoc on whoever tries to fill the shoes. 
The Frontcourt:
In another matchup of future NBA studs, both teams have sets of forwards that show signs of mile high ceilings in their futures. Justice Winslow is the lone freshman of the starting forwards, but has not played like it. Mini-Lebron, as I like to call him, can shoot, rebound and run the floor with anyone in the country. His athleticism is freakishly impressive, but his basketball skills do not lag behind.  Amile Jefferson, a junior from Philadelphia, who has been incredibly consistent for the Blue Devils all year, is coming off the bench, but is a key to their team. 

Wisconsin starts a pair of very different forwards than Duke, but that’s not to say they’ll struggle in this matchup. Sam Dekker has been playing like a lottery pick in the tournament, twice setting his career high in points and hitting clutch shot after clutch shot for the Badgers. His game has looked so fluid in the post season that even the trees of the Kentucky Wildcats couldn’t contain him. Paired alongside Nigel Hayes, a sophomore who has played like anything but an underclassman, Wisconsin is very comfortable letting these two roam the court in crunch time. Don’t forget Duje Dukan off the bench for the Badgers, who can be a key X-Factor if he gets hot due to his streaky, but great shooting stroke.
Advantage: Wisconsin – Winslow and Jefferson have abused their competition in the tournament, but that is a product of their athleticism and Coach K’s system. Wisconsin’s forward tandem of Dekker and Hayes are playing better than any two forwards in the nation, and have the swagger to back it up. When your offensive rotation can be finished by both of your forwards with three point shooting and attacking the rim, establishing a defensive presence can be nearly impossible. Don’t believe me? Ask the 38-1 Kentucky Wildcats.
X-Factor – Three-Point Shooting

When these two teams squared off in December, the Blue Devils shot well above 50% from beyond the arc. Every time Wisconsin started to get some momentum and get on a run, Duke’s guards would answer with a clutch three to silence Madison. Wisconsin couldn’t answer, and was unable to rebound from Duke’s stellar shooting. However, Wisconsin in the tournament has been one of the best shooting teams in recent history.  Against Arizona in the Elite Eight, the badgers shot 12-18 from three, and carried that success over to the Final Four, again hitting seven huge shots. The math is pretty simple, three points are worth more than two, and both of these teams shoot the three very well. We all know what Okafor and Kaminsky are capable of in the block, but I have a feeling whichever team scores more from three will cut the nets.