The Wisconsin basketball team didn’t play against Coach Krzyzewski and Duke often, but when they did, the game rarely went their way. Coach K faced off against the Wisconsin basketball team four times during his legendary career and came away a winner three out of four games.
Let’s take a look at each of the Wisconsin-Duke matchups.
Game 1: 2007-2008 season
The Badgers faced off against Duke and Coach K for the first time during the 2007-08 season as a part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Both teams entered the game undefeated. Wisconsin basketball was 5-0 and ranked 20th in the polls. Duke was 6-0 and 7th in the polls. The Badgers were out of this game pretty early. At halftime, Duke was up 48-25 and continued to roll in the second half, soundly defeating the Badgers.
For Duke, guard Greg Paulus led the way. He had 18 points for the Blue Devils. Taylor King (15), Kyle Singler (13), Gerald Henderson (11), and Jon Scheyer (10) all scored in double digits.
This was a Wisconsin basketball team that finished the season with a 31-5 record and earned a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament. This Wisconsin team could have had a good chance to make a deep run, but an injury to Brian Butch derailed their season, eventually losing to the Steph Curry-led Davidson Wildcats in the Sweet 16.
Duke and Coach K took a 1-0 lead in the all-time series.
Game 2: 2009-2010 season
The Badgers and Blue Devils met again two years later in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but this time in Madison. The Badgers came into the game unranked but Duke was undefeated and ranked 6th in the country.
The Badgers came out ready to face the Blue Devils. They jumped out to a six-point lead at the half and hung on to win by four. It was a huge upset and the fans rushed onto the court.
Badgers guard Trevon Hughes erupted for 26 points. Jon Leuer also added in 17 points for Wisconsin. Their defense was able to contain Duke’s offense for most of the game. Duke’s Kyle Singler scored a game-high 28 points, but he didn’t get a whole lot of help. Nolan Smith was the next highest scorer with just 13 points.
It was a big win for the Wisconsin basketball program, especially considering Duke would go on to win the NCAA Tournament later that season and had seven future NBA players on the team.
The Badgers tied the all-time series 1-1.
Game 3: 2014-2015
The Badgers and Blue Devils played each other twice in the 2014-2015 season. Their first matchup was again, a part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Coming into the game, both teams were 7-0. The Badgers were ranked 2nd and the Blue Devils were 4th. This was a heavyweight bout in Madison.
At the half, it was just a three-point Duke lead. The Blue Devils eventually pulled away and won by 10 points.
Tyus Jones poured in 22 points for the Blue Devils, adding six rebounds and four assists. Quinn Cook and Jahlil Okafor added 13 points each.
At the time, we didn’t know that this would be a preview of the National Championship game in April.
Game 4: 2014-2015 National Championship Game
The last time Wisconsin faced off with Duke was in the 2015 NCAA National Championship Game. Both teams came into the contest as 1-seeds in the tournament. Wisconsin had just come away with a huge upset over the Kentucky Wildcats in the Final Four, a team many thought would go undefeated all season.
This was a highly competitive game that was close throughout. At the half, the game was tied at 31 each.
Unfortunately, a number of calls went against the Badgers in the second half. Things just didn’t go Wisconsin’s way and relatively unknown Grayson Allen got hot and scored 16 points in the game. They ended up losing a heartbreaker in the National Championship Game. It really felt like that was the year they would win it all.
In a losing effort, Kaminsky scored 21 points while Sam Dekker struggled a bit. He scored 12 points, making just six of his 15 shots and missing all six three-point shots he took.
Coach K had a legendary career while at Duke. Wisconsin, like many other schools, struggled to come out ahead of him, even with some very talented teams.
Whether you like Duke or not, you can’t help but respect what he has accomplished during his career.