Breakdown: No.4 Duke vs. No.2 Wisconsin

In just the second matchup between top five teams in the history of the Kohl Center, No.2 Wisconsin welcomes No.4 Duke in the annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge tonight at the Kohl Center. BadgerNation breaks down this prime-time matchup, especially between freshman sensation Jahlil Okafor (pictured) and Frank Kaminsky.

No.4 Duke (7-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. No.2 Wisconsin (7-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Wednesday, December 2, 8:40 p.m. Central

Arena –Kohl Center

Television -ESPN (Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – Series tied 1-1 (Wisconsin leads 1-0 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 73-69, on December 2, 2009 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 13.6 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-3 Senior Guard, 8.4 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-9 Junior Forward, 13.6 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-4 Senior Guard, 5.9 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Senior Forward, 16.6 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 Zak Showalter (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 2.7 ppg)

13 Duje Dukan (6-10 Senior Forward, 8.4 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-4 Sophomore Guard, 4.4 ppg)

30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Sophomore Guard, 3.1 ppg)

Duke Probable Starters

2 Quinn Cook (6-2 Senior Guard 15.6 ppg)

5 Tyus Jones (6-1 Freshman Guard, 8.9 ppg)

12 Justise Winslow (6-6 Freshman Forward, 13.0 ppg)

15 Jahlil Okafor (6-11 Freshman Center, 17.7 ppg)

21 Amile Jefferson (6-9 Junior Forward, 9.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 Grayson Allen (6-4 Freshman Guard, 6.3 ppg)

13 Matt Jones (6-5 Sophomore Guard, 7.6 ppg)

14 Rasheed Sulaimon (6-5 Junior Guard, 6.4 ppg)

30 Semi Ojeleye (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 3.0 ppg)

40 Marshall Plumlee (7-0 Junior Center, 3.6 ppg)

Last Time Out

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas - Frank Kaminsky scored 14 of his game-high 17 points in the second half to help the Badgers pull away in a 69-56 victory over Oklahoma to win the Battle 4 Atlantis Championship Friday at Imperial Arena.

Kaminsky was named the tournament most valuable player despite going 1-for-8 shooting against Georgetown and having to sit for the final 14:28 of the second half after picking up his second foul, a nod to just how dominant he was.

Four other players reached double figures for the Badgers (7-0), who missed out on matchups against No.18 Florida and No.5 North Carolina but will make no apologies after winning a pair of physical contests in a little over 25 hours to win a nonconference tournament championship for the second straight season.

Leading by one at halftime, Wisconsin flexed its muscle during a decisive 16-2 run by getting production from all parts of its starting lineup. Sam Dekker hit a 3-pointer off an offensive rebound by Nigel Hayes, Hayes added a jumper and Kaminsky added a 3-point play, his first points of the 14:50 mark of the first half.

Following a layup from TaShawn Thomas, Traevon Jackson (13 points) converted two fast-break layups in transition, forcing the Sooners to burn a timeout to curtail the momentum. It didn’t work.

Never leading by less than nine the rest of the way, Wisconsin finished shooting 43.5 percent from the field, the first time in six games that the Sooners (4-2) let an opponent shoot over 38 percent.

Duje Dukan and Jackson each had 13, Dekker added 11 and Hayes finished with 10 for the Badgers. Dukan did most of his damage in the first half with Kaminsky on the bench, scoring 11 points and went 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

Without Kaminsky on the floor for the Badgers in the first half, both teams exchanged lengthy runs (a 10-0 UW run followed by a 9-0 Oklahoma run) but UW survived a half that had 11 lead changes and four ties with a 34-33 lead because of Oklahoma’s inability to hang on to the ball.

Wisconsin turned 12 Oklahoma turnovers – eight of which came in the just over 10 minutes - into 15 points into the first half. Sooners committed 21 total turnovers that turned into 27 points for UW.

Averaging 18.2 points per game, Oklahoma junior guard Buddy Hield – a native of Freeport, Bahamas – managed only 9 points on 2-for-11 shooting.

None of the Sooners’ starting lineup surpassed their points per game totals from their previous five games and only one player – Dinjiyl Walker – scored in double figures (10 points), as Oklahoma shot just 29 percent in the second half and 37 percent for the game.

-BadgerNation.com

Last Meeting

MADISON - Wisconsin senior Trevon Hughes knew he didn’t give his best effort. Jon Leuer admitted that the Badgers had a lot of work to do. Head Coach Bo Ryan said that Duke got UW out of its rhythm offensively.

Those comments were uttered two seasons ago. It’s amazing how much can change in that short of time.

The Badgers wanted a home game in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, they got the Blue Devils and they out duked the sixth-rank team in the country.

Wisconsin (5-1) wasn’t supposed to compete with All-Americans and the prestige but not only did the Badgers compete against the Blue Devils, they never trailed, made the Blue Devils play their tempo and did what no other Big Ten could do against them in the challenge, beat them, registering a 73-69 victory.

Not bad for a team picked seventh in the Big Ten.

“I am really happy for our guys, students, fans to get a game here like this and to deliver,” UW coach Bo Ryan said. “Our guys delivered.”

Nobody said it would come easy for the Badgers, and few things could be classified as such, especially against a Duke team that led the ACC in scoring offense (84.5 points per game) and scoring margin (26.3 points) and hung its hat on defense, leading the nation in field goal percentage defense coming in and were allowing an average of 58.2 points in their first six games.

Although ranked tenth in the conference in scoring offense, the Badgers second-ranked scoring defense did a number on Duke players not named Kyle Singler. The Badgers limited Duke’s other four starters to a combined 8-of-22 and 29 points and the Blue Devils couldn’t make a field goal during an eight minutes, 45 seconds stretch in the second.

“They did a good job overall, I thought, defensively,” Duke senior Jon Scheyer said. “There really just wasn't much there. I don't think we did a good job of just staying patient. They did a good job, didn't give us a lot of open looks and there just wasn't much there.”

With the Blue Devils struggling, the Badgers built a lead thanks to Hughes, who scored 19 of his career-high 26 points in the second half and, at one point, eight straight UW points to build an 11-point UW lead to 5:08 remaining.

“He’s just a really good player,” UW coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Hughes. “I thought he was good then. Now he’s two years older and he’s really good. He’s a damn good player. They played a real veteran game. The last eight minutes, we put ourselves in position where we couldn’t win.”

Even then, it wasn’t going to be that easy, especially when freshman Andre Dawkins starting heating up from the perimeter. Dawkins his three three-pointers in four possessions, bringing Duke to within two with 1:46 left on the clock.

But unlike so many times last season when the Badgers let a victory slip through their fingers in the final minutes, Wisconsin answered the bell.

After senior Jason Bohannon and Scheyer traded two free throws, Leuer made one of two free throws and Singler followed with a bucket to cut Wisconsin’s lead to 70-69 with 5.7 seconds left.

Hughes, as he was all second half, was clutch, hitting two free throws after he was fouled to extend the lead to 72-69 with 4.9 seconds left and got a gift when the sure-handed Singler miss fired an inbounds pass out of bounds at mid-court. That allowed Jordan Taylor to sink one free throw to ice the game.

After a desperate three-point attempt from half court fell well of its mark, the Badgers, celebrating in their own right, were surrounding by a deafening student section that made its presence known all night.

-Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com

Series Notes

The Blue Devils are 30-14 against teams ranked in the top 25 of the AP Poll this decade (2009-10 season) with a 12-8 mark against top 10 teams.

Duke is the winningest team in ACC/Big Ten Challenge history with a 13-2 (.867) record. The Blue Devils won their first 10 matchups in the event before Wisconsin snapped that streak Dec. 2, 2009.

Mike Krzyzewski and Bo Ryan are 2 of 6 active coaches with at least 700 wins. The duo ranks sixth and seventh, respectively, in career win percentage among all-time coaches with 700 wins.

The Badgers are 38-38 all-time against current members of the ACC and have won seven of their last nine games against ACC foes.

Wisconsin Notes

The Badgers are 34-12 (.739) at the Kohl Center against AP Top 25 teams under Ryan, including a mark of 22-6 (.786) against teams ranked in the top 15. Over the last five seasons, the Badgers have won 17 of their last 22 home games vs. ranked teams.

UW is one of just 3 teams – with Arizona and Miami (FL) – to own a pair of RPI top-25 wins and one of just 2 teams (with Miami) to own 4 top-100 wins.

UW is shooting 50.5 percent on the year while ranking sixth in the nation with just 9.3 turnovers per game. Overall, the Badgers rank 21st in the nation at 1.19 points per possession.

Hayes might be one of the most improved players in the Big Ten. After averaging 7.7 points and 2.8 rebounds with zero 3FGAs a year ago, he’s posting 13.6 ppg and 8.3 rpg and is 5-for-14 from 3-point range.

The Badgers are averaging just 13.7 fouls per game, the lowest mark in the Big Ten and 7th in the nation. No Badger has fouled out this season. UW opponents are fouling 19.6 times per game.

Duke Notes

Duke is shooting 61.4 percent (162-of-264) on two-point field goals and averaging 42.3 points per game in the paint on the year.

The Blue Devils have trailed for just 48 seconds through the first seven games of the season. Duke has not trailed past the 16:46 mark in the first half with its largest deficit being two points.

Eight different Blue Devils have scored in double figures this season with Quinn Cook and Jahlil Okafor reaching double figures in all seven contests.

Freshmen Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow have started all seven games for the Blue Devils. Mike Krzyzewski has started three or more freshmen in a game 42 times at Duke, including 27 times during the 1982-83 season.

Duke is averaging 25.7 points per game off opponent turnovers. The Blue Devils have scored 20-or-more points off turnovers in six of their seven games.

Prediction

If there was a marquee outside the Kohl Center, the headline act would read No.2 Wisconsin vs. No.4 Duke in the annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge.

Right underneath it would be the stars of the show, and there’s little debate that Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky and Duke’s Jamil Okafor would be the main attractions.

It’s a rarity to have a game this magnitude in the first three weeks of the college basketball season between two national championship caliber teams and between two teams that feature two of the premier players in the country.

Although they are both preseason All-Americans, how Kaminsky and Okafor got to this point is vastly different.

Kaminsky is in his fourth year and has turned from a lightly-recruited big out of suburban Chicago into a 7-foot matchup nightmare with his deadly inside-out game. He wasn’t a household name until a memorable NCAA tournament run that gave the Badgers their first Final Four appearance since 2000.

Kaminsky leads the team in scoring (16.6 ppg), rebounds (8.7 per game) and blocks (2.3 per game) and is third on the team in assists (2.4 per game). He is shooting 40.7 percent from three-point range (11 of 27), third best on the team, and is 64.2 percent on his two-point attempts (34 of 53).

Okafor is an inch smaller than Kaminsky but almost 30 pounds heavier at 270. Ranked the No.1 prospect in the 2014 class by Scout.com, Okafor will be on a NBA roster next summer and will cause a ton of problems for teams until then, as he’s already averaging 17.7 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting 63.6 percent (56 of 88).

Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan thinks Okafor is a pretty good dancer because of his footwork, but there’s more to him than that. According to Ryan, the true freshman’s size, hands, maneuverability and the way he plays on the baseline speak more to a fifth-year senior than someone seven games into his only college season.

“You can put names on guys, McDonald's All-American Player of the Year, Freshman Player of the Year, but he backs it up, just like the guy before him,” said Ryan.

"He doesn't rush. He takes his time. He makes the right decision,” added assistant coach Gary Close. “He's impressive at any age, but being a freshman stands out.”

Evan Daniels, Scout.com’s Director of National Basketball Recruiting, has seen Okafor plenty over the last handful of years on the AAU circuit and at Okafor’s Chicago Whitney Young Magnet HS. Like the comments from Ryan and Close, Daniels was wowed by Okafor’s skill set, which allowed him to be a force around the basket.

“Not many post players at 6-11 have the scoring package that Okafor does,” he said.

That’s not to say Okafor is indestructible or doesn’t have weak points. From Daniels’ perch in the gym, he believes long, athletic post players can be an effective neutralizer for the future NBA lottery pick, throwing different matchups and defensive techniques at him to keep him guessing throughout the game.

“He (Okafor) struggled a little with length, as he's not a great athlete, and is somewhat below the rim, so that's certainly an area you could affect him,” said Daniels. “I'm sure Wisconsin will challenge him double teams and will attempt to mix up who guards him ... They'll try and keep him on his toes, I'm sure.”

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While Okakor is the star attraction, Duke’s supporting players are pretty darn good, too. Guards Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook have combined for 70 assists to just 13 turnovers. Freshman forward Justise Winslow, overshadowed by Okafor’s stature, can drive to the basket with the best of them, and junior forward Amile Jefferson is a pain on the glass with a team-best 29 offensive rebounds and 8.9 boards a game.

“This game isn't about me,” Kaminsky said. “I really don't care what happens with me in the game as long as we win.”

Gauging Duke this season has been hard considering the blowout wins the Blue Devils have registered, but a Big Ten rival probably gave Wisconsin the winning blueprint. In an 81-71 loss to Duke in Indianapolis two weeks ago, Michigan State out rebounded the Blue Devils 35-25, including grabbing 13 offensive rebounds to Duke’s five.

The problem for the Spartans was Duke shot 54 percent from the field, Okafor manhandled the post offensive and defensively and Michigan State went 5-for-20 from 3-point range. Needless to say, the Badgers have to make some shots and try to contain the Blue Devils the best they can.

UW has been out-rebounded just once this season and owns a plus-8.3 margin on the glass, the second-largest rebounding margin in the Big Ten. The Badgers also lead the Big Ten in defensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 77.7 percent of possible boards at the defensive end.

Odds makers list Wisconsin a three-point favorite probably because the Kohl Center is one heck of a home court advantage for the Badgers. If UW can play its typical hard-nosed defense, make a couple perimeter shots, get to the free throw line and make its attempts, the Badgers win this game by five.

Worgull's Record: 7-0

Points off Prediction: 47 (6.7 per game)


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