Before we talk about the final, let us spend some time on the semifinal Duke-Michigan St. Much has been said about Kentucky’s big disappointment and no doubt from a media point of view that was the highlight of the Final Four.
However the other semifinal was a fantastic basketball game. The tactical discipline of Duke was something beyond belief. Fully aware of their superiority in the paint, the guards of Coach K’s team executed the same play once and again: agressive progression towards the basket to attract Michigan’s defence and then two options, ball to Okafor or a lay up. However simple it may sound, it worked extremely well because Michigan could not stop Duke’s guards. Duke barely used 2-point or 3-point shots, it concentrated all the offensive action in the paint. And this was combined with an excellent defensive effort which gave the impression of creating continuous 2×1 situations.
So it was no surprise to me that Duke beat Wisconsin at the final. The fact that Okafor did not play a decisive role, with Dekker and Jones taking the lead, just shows how well put together Duke is. Wisconsin is probably more fun, they have a great all-around player like Kaminsky. But Duke is the equivalent of a top Euroleague team, well balanced in its paint-perimetre strength, hugely competitive and extremely disciplined.