The 10 best quotes from Syracuse field hockey’s season

first_imgBefore the season started, Syracuse was ranked No. 4. In the ensuing weeks came overtime wins, second-half comebacks, an ascent to the national No. 1 spot, hearing a rap song someone made them in an Indiana Chipotle, the first women’s undefeated regular season in school history and a sweep of the Atlantic Coast Conference individual awards. But Sunday, SU failed to capture the team title, losing perfection and the ACC crown in a 2-1 overtime loss to North Carolina.Starting Saturday, the Orange starts the NCAA tournament and its quest to become the first women’s team in school history to win a national championship. Read here what it will take to get there.Here are the 10 quotes recapping Syracuse’s wild 2015 season:10. “I’m not a rap person. I looked at the first paragraph and moved on. It’s nice that he did it … (but) that doesn’t appeal to me. To the kids it did. I like my ‘70s and ‘80s music. I’ll stick to my Van Morrison.” – Syracuse head coach, and 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, Ange Bradley on Oct. 26 about the rap that was made for her team.9. “The (ACC) is constantly hard competition. … In my opinion, and in many other people’s opinions, it’s the best league in the country.” – Senior forward Emma Russell on Oct. 20AdvertisementThis is placeholder text8. “Seeing (senior midfielder Alma Fenne) go through the defense and making those shots — she makes those on me every day at practice — I was like, ‘Yes! Make another goalkeeper pay.’” – A laughing senior goalkeeper Jess Jecko after Fenne, the 2015 ACC offensive player of the year, scored seven points in the team’s Oct. 17 win over Wake Forest.7. “I remember I came in my first year and I was like, ‘What? How can you call these people your family? I don’t think that could happen.’” – Russell, now a team captain, on her hesitancy freshman year.6. “I said to her mother, ‘I think she’s never going to learn (field hockey).’ Every time (I see her play), I’m surprised. … When she was eight, I thought, ‘Ohhhh. We’re never going to make it.’ But we did.” – Rob Weers on Oct. 20 about his daughter, Roos Weers, the ACC Freshman of the Year.5. “Sixty days from now, it’s going to mean a heck of a lot more. We’d probably be the happiest people in the world. For today, it’s a reward of the work we’ve done but it means nothing at this point in time.” – Bradley on Oct. 6 after Syracuse became the new national No. 1.4. “The bottom line is: In the first half we weren’t aggressive and we were apprehensive. We waited for things to happen instead of stepping up to making things happen. That’s the first time we did that all year. And it’ll be the last.” – Bradley on Nov. 8 after Syracuse’s first loss, 2-1 in overtime against North Carolina in the ACC final3. “We were looking into each other’s eyes before the game (thinking), ‘We’re going to smash them.’ And we did.” – Fenne on Oct. 17 on the extra motivation Syracuse had in its first game against Wake Forest since losing to the Demon Deacons in the 2014 ACC final.2. “You always propose a question to the defense when you attack. ‘Are you going to come with me or are you going to stay in the space?’ The attacker has to read that and work with a teammate to decide what answer they’ll give. (They) have to be in unison to know the answer to those questions. In any sport, you make reads. It’s especially difficult in our sport because you’re only allowed to use one side of the stick, and you’re bent over. … It’s intricate in the sense that it’s a timing play. And that’s what makes this game, when played well, so beautiful.” – Bradley on Oct. 4 about playing offense.1. “We didn’t celebrate yet. We are going to celebrate the 22nd of November. You can be there if you want because that’s when we will be National Champions.” – Weers on Oct. 20 after clinching the regular-season ACC title during Syracuse’s final regular season home game.You can follow along with The Daily Orange’s continuing coverage of the team here. Comments Published on November 11, 2015 at 11:06 am Contact Sam: sjfortie@syr.edu | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Back To Basketball

first_imgLogan Reidsma | Photo Editor Logan Reidsma | Photo Editor Logan Reidsma | Photo Editor Comments Logan Reidsma | Photo Editor AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLogan Reidsma | Photo Editorcenter_img Logan Reidsma | Photo Editor Dear Readers,The 2014-2015 men’s basketball season had little to do with the on-court product. A postseason ban midway through the conference year ended any slim hope the Orange may have had at sliding into the NCAA Tournament. With a season that is set to start Friday, the focus is “Back to Basketball.” The stories in this guide detail the theme of the new season. Dajuan Coleman and Brittney Sykes are healthy after returning from debilitating multi-year injuries. Michael Gbinije is taking over as SU’s point guard while his backup Kaleb Joseph has shown an improved shooting ability. The D.O. also commemorates Jim Boeheim, who is the face of a program that is hoping to reshape its reputation after a season that wasn’t about basketball.Thanks for reading, Sam Blum, Sports Editor Published on November 12, 2015 at 7:55 am,Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. Logan Reidsma | Photo Editorlast_img read more

Gallery: Syracuse falls to Georgetown, 79-72

first_img Published on December 5, 2015 at 8:31 pm Comments Related Stories What we learned from Syracuse basketball’s loss to GeorgetownMike Hopkins coaches his first game: ‘That was pretty surreal’Frank Howard emerges as stable backup option at point guardGeorgetown bigs outmuscle No. 14 Syracuse in 79-72 winSyracuse community reacts to loss against former Big East rival Georgetowncenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

The best game of Malachi Richardson’s career was painfully incomplete

first_img Published on January 6, 2016 at 12:34 am Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse Related Stories Mike Hopkins after loss to Clemson: ‘I’m not a loser’Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 74-73 overtime loss to ClemsonSyracuse community reacts to loss against ClemsonGrade Syracuse’s performance against Clemson and vote for the player of the game The whole Carrier Dome counted down the final seconds of the shot clock. The whole Syracuse bench stood and yelled at Malachi Richardson to shoot. The whole game had, to that point, boiled into a one-possession battle in the final minutes and the freshman was trapped in the corner with no other options but to throw a prayer at the rim.So that’s what he did, and his turnaround fadeaway jumper arced toward the stadium’s ceiling before swishing through the net. He turned to the bench and yelled back at them, his celebration answering their panic. And after Clemson sunk two free throws and Richardson earned a pair of foul shots of his own, he again had the game at his fingertips with 18 seconds left in regulation.Richardson calmly made the first free throw, bumping the Orange’s lead to three. Then the Tigers called a timeout and Richardson’s game-sealing free-throw attempt rolled off the rim. Clemson raced down the court, worked the ball around and Gabe DeVoe hit a game-tying 3 to force overtime. Five minutes later, Clemson (9-6, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) escaped with a 74-73 win over SU (10-6, 0-3) in the Carrier Dome on Tuesday.One moment the freshman was the hero. The next moment, he wasn’t.“If I make the free throw, the second free throw after the timeout, we win the game,” Richardson said in a hushed voice after the game. “I gave them a chance, they nailed a 3, took it to overtime, we didn’t get enough stops, and they were able to win the game. It was a close one that we gave away out there.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor 39 minutes — before the acrobatic 3, missed free throw at the end of regulation and eventual Tigers win — Richardson flashed his latent potential without making “freshman” mistakes. He’d made 3-of-10 shots, but was 3-of-5 from 3. He had nine rebounds, which he finished with and is a career-high, including a clutch offensive board with two minutes left that earned him two shots at the line.But he’ll mostly remember his 16th career game for what he didn’t do, even if he added a 3 in overtime and scored a career-high 21 points on his 20th birthday. The missed free throw is why his eyes stayed on the ground as he answered questions from a crowd of reporters after the game. The miss free throw will be his most important shot of his young career until he has another chance to give SU the conference win that’s eluded it so far.And with the way this season has gone, with Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney demanding attention at all times, Richardson may not have to wait long for that opportunity.“You learn from it. It’s tough, I mean, he hasn’t been in that situation before in his life,” Cooney said. “He’s a big-time player and he’ll be in that situation again, and I guarantee he knocks it down next time.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Stock up/stock down: A look back at Syracuse’s loss to Wake Forest

first_img Published on October 9, 2016 at 5:34 pm Contact Jon: jrmettus@syr.edu | @jmettus Steve Ishmael, junior wide receiverAll things considered, no one on the offense had a great day, but Steve Ishmael led the receiving group with five catches for 56 yards. The bulk of the yards came on a 33-yard catch in the fourth quarter where he jumped over 6-foot-1 Wake Forest cornerback Amari Henderson and pinned the ball with his right hand to his chest. Ishmael was open in the end zone with one second left in the first half, but, according to Dungey, the ball didn’t come out of the quarterback’s hand the way he would have liked and Wake Forest intercepted the pass.MORE COVERAGE:Rate Syracuse’s position groups midway through the seasonLibonati: Blown chances in loss shatter SU’s bowl chancesGallery: Check out the best sights from Syracuse’s loss to Wake Forest Stock DownOffensive lineSyracuse’s offensive line had arguably its worst game of the season, giving up five sacks and 11 tackles for loss. With starters Jason Emerich, Omari Palmer and Cody Conway still out, the patchwork group struggled to pickup blitzes, especially on first and second downs. Multiple players said SU was caught off guard by WFU’s early blitzes. SU head coach Dino Babers criticized the group’s execution, adding that Dungey took several hits and consistently had defensive linemen near him when he dropped back to pass.Kendall Coleman, freshman defensive linemanKendall Coleman has been one of Syracuse’s best defensive linemen, despite being a freshman and coming off shoulder surgery in the offseason. But on Saturday, Coleman suffered from a costly lapse in judgment. On one play in the fourth quarter, Coleman shoved a Wake Forest player after a play, earning some sort of verbal warning from a referee. About three plays later, he was called for targeting on a late hit to Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford. Coleman was ejected from the game and will be suspended for the first half of SU’s next game against Virginia Tech. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Syracuse (2-3, 0-2 Atalntic Coast) lost to Wake Forest (5-1, 2-1), 28-9, on a messy Saturday at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Hurricane Matthew passing by brought heavy rain and wind throughout the first half and parts of the second, disrupting play.The two teams combined for two interceptions, six fumbles and six sacks. Orange quarterback Eric Dungey was held to 156 yards passing and no touchdowns.Here’s a look at where some players and units stood out.Stock upSterling Hofrichter, redshirt freshman punterAdvertisementThis is placeholder textDespite the rain and winds that were gusting at 19 mph, Sterling Hofrichter did a good job getting his kicks downfield. None of his kicks were pretty. Most of them were low, line drive, knuckleballers, but they got the job done. Hofrichter booted two punts more than 50 yards and two landed inside the 20. His 10 kicks totaled 415 yards — 89 yards more than SU’s offensive total — for an average of 41.5 yards. He forced fair catches three times and one of the punts was muffed, giving SU a chance to get the ball. Wake Forest only returned it three times for 8 total yards.Parris Bennett, junior linebackerParris Bennett notched his third straight double-digit tackle performance with a team-high 12 tackles — and a week after he was carried off the field with an apparent ankle or foot injury. Bennett was at the center of one of SU’s best run defense performances. His best play came on Wake Forest’s first series, when he stripped Demon Deacons punter Dom Maggio at the 1-yard line after Maggio scrambled back to pickup a high snap. The play resulted in a safety.last_img read more

The last time Syracuse allowed a record point total…

first_imgWhen Syracuse gave up a then-record 75 points in a game, the first car in the United States was still two years away from being revealed, the Wright Brothers hadn’t yet taken flight, and the Titanic hadn’t been built. The year was 1891 and Union College was the team that set the mark.The 125-year record was broken at Heinz Field on Saturday, where Pitt (8-4, 5-3 Atlantic Coast) scored 11 touchdowns in a 76-61 victory over the Orange (4-8, 2-6), ending SU’s chances of bowl eligibility and head coach Dino Babers’ inaugural season. The teams set an FBS record with 137 combined points.Here’s some facts from the last time Syracuse allowed 75 points in a game. It’s been awhile.• Syracuse football was in its third season• Stephen Crane, SU student and author of the “Red Badge of Courage,” was a member of the teamAdvertisementThis is placeholder text• Benjamin Harrison served as the 23rd president of the United States• Artist Vincent Van Gogh died the year prior• Syracuse University was in its 21st year of operation• Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman, known for “total war” tactics that helped the Union Army defeat the Confederate States, died• The game of basketball was created by Dr. James Naismith• Yale won the college football championship Comments Published on November 26, 2016 at 6:50 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Syracuse fails to protect 3-point arc in 74-70 loss to North Carolina State

first_imgUPDATED: Feb. 16, 2018 at 3:38 a.m.The situation called for the press. Anything the Syracuse defense did to that point proved futile. North Carolina State was hot, and with three minutes left in a game SU couldn’t afford to lose, there were few options left.It failed. NCSU guard Sam Hunt instead hit another triple, his fourth. And it came from the corner, a weak spot in a two-three zone when the forwards get caught up high or inside.But Oshae Brissett matched it. Down five, Tyus Battle drove and finished left. Down three, the Orange retained possession. Brissett got the rock on the wing and sunk a 3, pushing his point total to 25 on the night. He cocked back his imaginary arrow and let it fly into the seats. There was hope. SU could possibly survive another home scare. Maybe, the Orange could keep its Big Dance dreams alive.A game that was close for 40 minutes couldn’t get any closer in its last. Until the Wolfpack’s Markell Johnson sunk the dagger into Syracuse’s night — and maybe its season — with a 3 of his own a few seconds later in Syracuse’s (17-9, 6-7 Atlantic Coast) 74-70 loss to North Carolina State (17-9, 7-6 ACC) in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night. It was the Wolfpack’s seventh 3 of the half and 10th of the night.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“The first half, I thought we did a much better job covering the 3-point line. Second half we did not,” head coach Jim Boeheim said. “I thought that was really the difference in the game.”Although no team will admit to looking ahead in the schedule, this was the last game the Orange is favored to win, according to Kenpom.com. Within its five remaining games, SU will host two top-15 teams in North Carolina and Clemson and travel to the ever-hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium at No. 12 Duke. All games that, if won, would surely bolster the Orange’s resume. All teams NCSU has already beaten.That was the glaring difference between SU and NCSU. Both teams sit near the NCAA Tournament bubble. The Wolfpack, boasting multiple wins over ranked teams, is considered one of the last in. SU, some experts say, could be the first out. Bracketology is not an exact science, but it doesn’t take an expert to realize winning the head-to-head has to put the victor ahead should these two teams be considered near-equals come Selection Sunday.Now, thanks to its inability Wednesday to protect the arc, SU must defy expectations in one of the roughest stretches of its schedule. It will likely have to secure its biggest wins of the season when anything else means two straight seasons of disappointment in the NIT. And it will have to do so with a depleted team that’s limping into March. Both Paschal Chukwu (back) and Marek Dolezaj (ankle) spent time on the bench Wednesday night wincing in pain. It’s hard to imagine a point in the near future where Matthew Moyer and Bourama Sidibe are both 100 percent. And the Orange’s first guard off the bench is a former walk-on, Division III transfer.“The room for error was always small,” Battle, a sophomore guard, said. “For us to win, we can’t make a ton of mistakes. And now it’s definitely crunch time to get some wins.”And with Wednesday’s loss, add one more drawback to SU’s case before the selection committee, because NCSU proved to be the more deserving team. Although SU entered Wednesday with the league’s second-best defense, NCSU brought an offense ranked fifth in the ACC. It was not hard to see those two offsetting qualities clash. And for 35 minutes, they did. In the first half, both shot near 50 percent and turned the ball over 10 times. The Wolfpack took a three-point lead to the break after shooting out of an early slump and trailing by as much as seven.Oshae Brissett leveled the score with a second-chance 3-pointer two minutes into the second half. Then he did it again with a steal and a fast-break dunk, igniting an explosive reaction from the scarce Carrier Dome crowd. Then a high-post jumper followed by a back-door cut, reverse-dunk. Brissett’s nine-straight points to open the half matched each Wolfpack bucket.Frank Howard, who finished with 16 points, six assists and four turnovers, dropped a few makes. Moyer, during his 28 minutes, added a jump-hook. A quick whistle helped, too; SU was in the bonus before the second media timeout and reached the double-bonus just after the 10-minute mark. But the Wolfpack always had that deafening response. Neither team led by more than two possessions at any point in the half’s first 16 minutes. The little separation that exists between their resumes showed in their play.With about seven minutes left, Howard knotted it at 56. Wolfpack guard Sam Hunt swished a corner three. Tyus Battle notched two at the line, but then Allerik Freeman sunk from deep. A few minutes later, Hunt added another triple. By this point, it was obvious what was killing SU. Postgame, Dolezaj said the defense must move. Battle mentioned NCSU’s overload. Brissett admitted they knew it was coming.“Locating 3-point shooters and taking care of the ball,” Howard said. “Those two things have been our issues all year.”Yet SU’s defense couldn’t plug the problem. The seven-point SU deficit felt huge. The press came out, and SU battled, but when the final buzzer sounded, the additional loss on its record felt a lot bigger than any difference in the score.CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, Allerik Freeman was misnamed. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Published on February 14, 2018 at 11:34 pm Contact: jtbloss@syr.edu | @jtbloss Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Badgers overcome slow start, sweep Border Battle

first_imgJordan Taylor went 11-12 from the charity stripe on his way to a 22-point performance against Minnesota. His performance marked his third 20-point performance of the year, one of which previously came against Minnesota in Minneapolis on Feb. 9.[/media-credit]If it were easy, it wouldn’t be a Big Ten conference game.At least, that is how this season has unfolded for the Wisconsin men’s basketball team. Tuesday night, the No. 14 Badgers (22-8, 11-6 Big Ten) fought their way past a horrid first-half shooting effort en route to a 52-45 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-13, 5-12 Big Ten) at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin shot just 4-for-21 in the first half (19 percent) and entered halftime trailing 23-16.With the win, the Badgers are guaranteed at least a top-four seed in the conference, as well as a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament next weekend in Indianapolis.The Gophers, meanwhile, dropped their sixth straight game, all but eliminating them from NCAA tournament consideration.Following a rousing 63-60 upset victory at No. 9 Ohio State Sunday afternoon, Tuesday night’s game was Wisconsin’s third in six days. Although head coach Bo Ryan denied the presence of fatigue in his players, the Badgers appeared to lack energy in the first half. In addition to the overall poor shooting effort, UW shot just 2-for-10 (20 percent) from 3-point range in the first half.“Minnesota played hard and took certain things away and gave us certain things,” Ryan said. “They gave us some great 3-point looks – that’s happened to us three or four times this year, where you get those looks and you just need to hit 33 percent of them, and you’re shooting pretty well. But when you shoot the percentage that we did – we weren’t getting any putbacks, [or] much inside – they did a good job of taking that away.”Through the game’s first 10 minutes, both teams struggled to build much of a lead. A 3-pointer by point guard Jordan Taylor put the Badgers ahead 11-8 at the 12:34 mark, but Wisconsin then went the remainder of the half without converting another field goal.Minnesota subsequently built an 11-5 run over the next six minutes, culminating in a 19-13 Gophers lead that stayed unchanged for more than three minutes.The game also reached a high level of chippiness early on, as referees Terry Wymer, Ed Hightower and Larry Scirotto called a combined 43 fouls between the two teams. Wisconsin finished 22-for-29 (75.9 percent) from the free throw line, while Minnesota was 21-for-29 (72.4 percent).Both head coaches also drew technical fouls. Ryan’s came with 3:08 remaining in the first half, after no foul was called on a turnover by forward Ryan Evans. One play earlier, a foul had been called on Rob Wilson that resulted in two free throws for Minnesota’s Ralph Sampson III.“They’ve seen me like that in practice, I mean, once in a while. It depends on if I had a bad meal, or not, at lunch,” Ryan quipped when asked about his players’ reaction to the technical. “Boy, you know, if that’s what it takes, coaches would do that all the time.”With the Badgers trailing by seven points at halftime, Taylor answered with a jumper less than two minutes into the second half to bring the Badgers within 23-18. Taylor finished with a game-high 22 points on 4-for-9 shooting, including 3-for-6 shooting from 3-point range. He also sunk 11 of his 12 free throw attempts.After the two teams traded baskets over several possessions, the game was tied at 25-25 with 16:04 remaining. No points were scored by either side for nearly four minutes before a Rodney Williams layup put the Gophers up by two. Williams finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, while guard Andre Hollins led Minnesota with 18 points. Hollins shot just 3-for-12 from the floor, though he hit 10-of-11 free throw attempts.While the Kohl Center crowd was subdued for much of the first half – aside from Ryan’s technical – due to the lack of scoring, it was reignited after UW forward Mike Bruesewitz drove through the lane and appeared to sink a tough layup with contact. However, the call was quickly ruled a charge on Bruesewitz. After conferring, the call was changed to a shooting foul on Hollins, sending Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith erupting into argument on the sidelines.“Who knows”? Smith said when asked for the clarification the referees gave him on the call. “To have the ball like that and change the call, are you kidding me? It’s a joke. It really is.”With just under 12 minutes remaining, Smith was called for a technical foul after arguing a no-call by the officials. Taylor sunk both free throws and then nailed a 3-pointer after the Badgers inbounded the ball, building their lead to 32-27 with 11:30 remaining.That once again energized the crowd, as the Badgers never relinquished the lead. Their biggest lead came with the score at 44-34 with 6:49 remaining, though the Gophers did narrow the game to within five points with 18 seconds remaining.However, Minnesota missed three of its final four free throws, allowing Wisconsin to rebound all the way from its dismal first half.“Coach [Ryan] gave us a good speech at halftime, and we wanted to come back and bounce back,” Evans said. “I’m just glad we got the opportunity to go out there and do it again.”last_img read more

Not done yet: Wisconsin to take on Duke in final test before it can be crowned champion

first_imgINDIANAPOLIS – The University of Wisconsin is a school rich with tradition, and one of those traditions is to never be satisfied, especially in athletics.When the football team scores, the students chant, “we want more.” When the men’s hockey team scores, Badger hockey super fan Phil Dzick leads the students in chanting, “we want more.”The Wisconsin men’s basketball team knocked off the then-undefeated Kentucky Wildcats in Saturday’s national semifinal in what was arguably the biggest victory in the program’s history, and while the team was able to celebrate the historic victory, the journey is not over.They want more.“We know we’ve got 40 more, as I’ve said a thousand times,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “But we know we got some work to do.”To be exact, the Badgers (36-3) want one more, as on Monday night, UW, for just the second time in school history, will play in the national championship game. It will take on the Duke Blue Devils (34-4) in a rematch of December’s matchup on Monday, just one win away from a national title.The two squads are already familiar with each other, as they met back in December at the Kohl Center as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Duke rode freshman guard Tyus Jones and a hot shooting night to a 80-70 victory, but the expectation this time around is that the flow of the game will be much different.In that December outing, Wisconsin junior forward Sam Dekker was still nursing an ankle injury he suffered in the preseason and had just five points on 2-for-5 shooting in 24 minutes. Dekker’s counterpart, Duke freshman forward Justise Winslow, also had just five points on 2-for-6 shooting in 32 minutes.Now, in April, the two have put any struggles behind them and are playing their best basketball of the season.Through the first five games of the tournament, Dekker is scoring an average of 20.6 points and grabbing 5.0 rebounds per game while shooting an astounding 61 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc. Winslow is close behind, averaging 15.0 points and 9.4 rebounds per game while shooting 54 percent from the field and 58 percent from three.Now, as the players plan to match up once again, both look to build on their strong play as of late and avenge their poor performances in December.“I don’t even know how many minutes I played in that (Duke) game but it’s not nearly as many as I do now,” Dekker said. “I was playing a different style and still trying to get my confidence back. I was maybe second guessing some things and put myself in a bad position.”Dekker is also well aware that Winslow is not the same player they saw in Madison that night.“Winslow is obviously a great defender but it shouldn’t matter who is in front of me,” Dekker said. “I still expect myself to play well. I just need to play up to my potential in that game and I’m confident I can do it.”However, the play of Dekker and Winslow are not the only changes this time around. In that first matchup, it was a battle of the starting point guards with senior guard Traevon Jackson leading the way for the Badgers with 25 points and Jones scoring 22 for Duke.Now, there is a change of scenery in the UW backcourt, as Jackson’s foot injury that kept him sidelined for over two months paved the way for sophomore guard Bronson Koenig to take over as the team’s starting point guard.Koenig’s experience and confidence have him ready to take on the challenge of going up against Duke’s talented backcourt of Jones and senior Quinn Cook, and he has his teammates, especially Jackson, to thank for that.“The upper classmen did a really good job of putting their trust in me,” Koenig said. “I’m really thankful for guys like Jackson for just helping me out along the way to help me develop into the player that I am now.”Duke will also be without junior guard Rasheed Sulaimon, who scored 14 off the bench in the last outing, in the backcourt for this game, as he was dismissed at the end of January for violating team rules.Nevertheless, the more things change, the more they stay the same, and this national championship matchup will once again feature two of the country’s best players in senior forward Frank Kaminsky and freshman forward Jahlil Okafor.Not much has changed for either of these players since the previous matchup. Both display an array of moves on the offensive end, hitting defenders with spin moves, a quick first step and impeccable touch around the rim.But most importantly, both are impossible to stop.“[Okafor] is a very good player,” Kaminsky said. “We knew that going into [the first] game. We knew he wasn’t going to be easy to stop. I don’t even know if you can stop him, but hope you can contain him a little bit.”The championship is set, and from the wings, to the backcourt, to the frontcourt, to even the coaches, this matchup is as even as it gets. Both teams will be fighting till the bitter end Monday night with one thing in mind.They want more.“This is make-or-break time right now. We don’t want to end the season on a loss,” Dekker said. “We thought last year was a good season but we still called it a failure because it ended with a loss. That’s something that we don’t want to do.”The Badgers and Blue Devils will play for all the marbles Monday night, with tip-off set for 8:15 central from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.No. 1 Wisconsin (36-3)How they got here:Second round – defeated Coastal Carolina, 86-72Third round – defeated Oregon, 72-65Sweet 16 – defeated North Carolina, 79-72Elite Eight – defeated Arizona, 85-78Final Four – defeated Kentucky, 71-64Probable Starters: G – Bronson Koenig (6-4, 8.7 ppg), G – Josh Gasser (6-4, 6.8 ppg), F – Sam Dekker (6-9, 13.9 ppg), F – Nigel Hayes (6-8, 12.4 ppg), F – Frank Kaminsky (7-0, 18.7 ppg)Key Reserves: G – Traevon Jackson (6-3, 8.5 ppg), G – Zak Showalter (6-2, 2.1 ppg), F – Duje Dukan (6-10, 4.7 ppg)No. 1 Duke (34-4)How they got here:Second round – defeated Robert Morris, 85-56Third round – defeated San Diego State, 68-49Sweet 16 – defeated Utah, 63-57Elite Eight – defeated Gonzaga, 66-52Final Four – defeated Michigan State, 81-61Probable Starters: G – Quinn Cook (6-2, 15.6 ppg), G – Tyus Jones (6-1, 11.5 ppg), G – Matt Jones (6-5, 6.2 ppg), F – Justise Winslow (6-6, 12.7 ppg), F – Jahlil Okafor (6-11, 17.5 ppg)Key Reserves: G – Grayson Allen (6-4, 4.0 ppg), F – Amile Jefferson (6-9, 6.2 ppg), F – Marshall Plumlee (7-0, 2.3 ppg)Game VitalsWho: No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 1 DukeWhen: Monday, April 6, 8:15 p.m. CSTWhere: Lucas Oil Stadium (71,932); Indianapolis, IndianaTV: CBS (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson)last_img read more