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NCAAB: Wisconsin vs. Michigan odds, preview, and pick

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

January 11th, 2021

One of the best matchups of the college basketball season is set for Tuesday, Jan. 12 as the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) head to Michigan to take on the No. 10 Wolverines (10-0) in a showdown between Big Ten heavyweights.

The last time these teams faced each other was in February 2020, when the Badgers won 81-74. As the undefeated home team, Michigan is a small favorite.

Wed, January 13 2021, 12:00 AM

Michigan

Moneyline

-167

Spread

-3.5

Total

O 134.5

Wisconsin

Moneyline

+140

Spread

+3.5

Total

U 134.5

Wisconsin is eyeing a national championship

Unlike some other matchups between highly recognizable programs that have taken place this season, this game pits two teams that have already proven themselves as national title contenders. Wisconsin is 10-2, with narrow losses to Marquette and Maryland, but is still fifth in KenPom’s overall efficiency rankings. The Badgers have impressive wins on their resume including a throttling of Louisville, a win at Michigan State, and most recently, a hard-fought double overtime victory over Indiana.

Michigan is unblemished

Michigan has enjoyed a few extra days’ rest after its last scheduled game against Penn State was postponed for COVID-19 protocols. Last time the Wolverines took the court, it was for an impressive win over No. 16 Minnesota, 82-57. They have only had one game all season, in fact, in which they failed to win by more than double-digits, an impressive start that has to make residents of Ann Arbor wonder what more they need to do to move up the national rankings.

Can Wisconsin put the clamps on defensively?

When these teams face off Tuesday night, it will be a matchup between the mostly immovable object and the almost unstoppable force. Wisconsin is surrendering just over 61 points per game on defense, while Michigan is averaging over 82 points per game on offense. Wisconsin has traditionally played a slower tempo offense, but thanks to clutch senior guard, D’Mitrik Trice, they are 10th in adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 114 points per 100 possessions.

Whether Michigan is able to speed things up and force more run outs or is forced to play at Wisconsin’s pace will be something to watch from the start. Trice was enormous in Wisconsin's last win against Indiana, and will be called upon to deliver another big game against a veteran Michigan backcourt.

Michigan's frontcourt is fearsome

The Michigan frontcourt appears to have the advantage in this game. Sophomore Franz Wagner and freshman Hunter Dickinson are tough matchups, and will likely be able to get theirs in the paint. Dickinson has scored in double-digits in every Michigan game thus far.

Against Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, Wisconsin struggled to find success, giving up 23 points and 12 points to the talented big man. He only scored one point in both overtime periods, however, as the Badgers double and even triple-teamed him when it mattered most.

I like Wisconsin to come into this matchup with a similar game plan, and for Trice to continue his excellent play while leading the Badgers to an upset win.

Score prediction: Wisconsin 76, Michigan 74

NCAAF pick: Wisconsin

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