Utah’s Dallin Bachynski will shut down Duke’s Jahlil Okafor
Some of you will feel this pushes the whole ‘reasonable prediction’ narrative we have going on here, but give me a minute to explain.
While Utah has played well and Duke has had a bit of a soft schedule so far (no offense to Robert Morris and San Diego State, but come on), this is a game I fully expect Duke to win.
They’re just going to do it without their freshman beast.
Okafor is unreal and his presence inside is disastrous for other teams, so the Utes (did you say Utes?) will focus on him and shutting him down. Dallin Bachynski is their best chance of doing that and I suspect he will be doing everything he can to stop Okafor.
For the most part, I believe he will be successful. Not only is Bachynski a fantastic defender, be also finds ways to draw fouls with regularity. So his success will come in more than just slowing down Okafor’s scoring—he’s likely to get the big man into some foul trouble as well.
And if he can do it early enough, he might get Okafor off the court for a while.
The problem for Utah—and what will probably cost them the game—is that even if Okafor goes down, Duke has enough weapons to put up plenty of points anyway.
That doesn’t change the problems Bachynski can cause Okafor, just that it might not change the outcome of the game. The rest of the Utes need to step up in a big way as well.
However, if Bachynski doesn’t shut down Okafor, this game will be over by halftime.
With Bachynski shutting down Okafor, though, this game will probably be tighter than Blue Devils fans would like, even if it ends in their favor.