MEET THE BLUE DEVELS
#1 Duke Blue Devils
34-4 (15-3, 2nd in ACC)
How did they get here?
Duke blew through their half of the bracket with relative ease, as their only single-digit win was against #5 Utah in the second round. They received an at-large bid to the tournament after being bounced from the ACC Tournament semifinals by Notre Dame. The Blue Devils haven’t lost to a team that wasn’t Notre Dame since January 13th, when they dropped their second of two consecutive games against ACC also-rans.
Who is their best player?
Freshman Jahlil Okafor is your headliner, and with good reason, he’s one of the best players in the country and a certain top-2 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, barring a catastrophic injury. He’s averaging 17 and 8 and makes two thirds of his shots, which is preposterous. But the Blue Devils have a pair of freshmen in Tyus Jones and Justice Winslow (dig that name, bruh) who are pretty dang good too. Senior Quinn Cook provides #leadership.
Can the Blue Devils beat Wisconsin?
Of course they can, they already did back in December. But the Badgers were a very different team when they met Duke for the ACC Challenge. Beyond the natural growth of a team throughout the season (a process magnified by Bo Ryan), that game was played under the widely-held but false assumption that Sam Dekker was a human being. Now of course he has revealed his true nature to us, that of the ancient god of ball, Threesus. Dekker scored five points in that game. If he scores five points tonight I will eat my hat.
Did you ever imagine you would wake up on Opening Day and care more about something other than baseball?
Nope. I can’t put into words how much I want this. Not only for myself as a fan, but for these young men. Has any team ever been so damn likable? We know we’re losing Frank and Josh after tonight and at this point, it’d almost be irresponsible for Sam to stay, as he’s almost certainly played himself into the lottery over the last month. The Badgers will reload, as the always do, but this team is special, on and off the court. #MakeEmBelieve
What is the best case scenario?
Any scenario in which this game ends with the Badgers having more points on the scoreboard than the Blue Devils is the best case scenario.
What is the worst case scenario?
The Badgers one-in-a-million shot misfires, and the Evil Empire wins another championship to add to their pile of trophies as Wisconsin and the entire nation outside of Durham mourns. Everyone that conceivably could declares for the draft and Bo is left having to replace 80% of his starting lineup, a tall task even for him. The Badgers finish 3rd in the B1G next year.