The Wisconsin Badgers and the Duke Blue Devils managed to beat the odds and will face off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Monday for the NCAA National Championship in men's basketball.
According to Steve Almasy of CNN, Wisconsin had to crush the dreams of the Kentucky Wildcats 71-64 to earn their spot in the championship, while the Blue Devils dominated the Michigan State Spartans 81-61; both games took place on Saturday. Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan commented on how his team, most notably national player of the year finalist Frank Kaminsky and junior forward Sam Dekker, secured the win against Kentucky.
"These guys just gutted it out," Ryan said. "We just kept battling on every possession."
Almasy reported that Wisconsin hopes to win its first title since 1941. They managed to beat a team that had only six turnovers, hit 90 percent of its free throws, and made 48 percent of its field goals; Kentucky coach John Calipari elaborated on how the Badgers beat them on the court.
"They crowded us a little bit, and (our) guys got a little tentative," Calipari said.
According to CNN, Kamisky elaborated on how they were able to beat Kentucky, the tallest team in basketball.
"We stayed into them, attacking them, trying to do whatever we can," Kamisky said. "Just trying to keep them off the glass was one of our main priorities."
The Badgers will probably have to rely on a similar strategy to beat out Duke, a university that has previously won the NCAA men's national championship four times. According to Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports, Duke's game strategy could depend on the performance of Jahlil Okafor.
"[Assistant] coach [Jeff] Capel told me to score every time I had it," Okafor said.
Duke guard Matt Jones told Mandel that Okafor had a certain look on his face whenever they were on the basketball court.
"You can tell when Jah's ready to play," Jones said, "and when he knows he's the best player on the court."
According to Mandel, Duke will play in its ninth national championship game under coach Mike Krzyzewski. Although Duke has been considered the "consensus favorite" in times past, no such guarantee exists in the upcoming game.
"The nation is not getting the Kentucky-Duke showdown it craved, but it's still getting quite the compelling matchup of two No. 1 seeds," Mandel wrote. "And Okafor vs. Kaminsky will be the primary attraction."
Jones hoped that Okafor would help lead their team to victory.
"When he has a performance like this, as a team we gel better," Jones said in regards to Okafor's performance against Michigan State on Saturday. "Hopefully he can do it again Monday."
Monday's game will air at 9:18 p.m. ET/6:18 p.m. PT on CBS. Online viewers will be able to freely stream the game on the official NCAA March Madness website and through various devices on the official app.