Yale Bulldogs (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS, 1-0 O/U) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (1-0 SU, 0-0 ATS, 0-0 O/U)
NCAAB: Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Wisconsin Badgers -13. Total: 139
The Wisconsin Badgers will be trying to start the season 2-0 when they host the Yale Bulldogs at the Kohl Center on Sunday evening. Wisconsin tipped things off by hammering South Carolina State on Friday, while Yale opened with a loss at Creighton.
Mason still on the shelf
This is a quality Yale team that is paying a visit to Wisconsin for the Hall of Fame Classic. The Bulldogs, who made their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 54 years in 2015-16 and won 18 games last season despite playing without star guard Makai Mason, opened the season with a 92-76 loss at Creighton on Friday.
Mason (16.0 ppg, 3.8 apg in 2015-16) abused Baylor for 31 points in an NCAA Tournament upset two seasons ago, did not play against the Bluejays and is out indefinitely after injuring the same right foot that caused him to miss the 2016-17 campaign. Junior forward Blake Reynolds led the Bulldogs with 18 points and four three-pointers, while 6’10” freshman Paul Atkinson added 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting in his debut. Trey Phills (12 points, five rebounds) and Alex Copeland (10 points, eight rebounds) each finished in double-figures in scoring. The Bulldogs allowed Creighton to shoot 59 percent from the floor and were beaten 23-6 in fast-break points.
Questions already being answered
Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard was wondering how he would replace five players who accounted for 62 percent of the scoring and 61 percent of the minutes for a team that went to the NCAA Tournament for a 19th consecutive time last season. Gard got more than one answer in the Badgers’ Friday night 85-50 win over South Carolina State. One came in the form of Andy Van Vliet, a 7-foot junior center who scored 18 points, made four three-pointers, and grabbed eight rebounds to go along with two blocks during 22 minutes in his first career start. Wisconsin’s backcourt also turned in a strong performance, as Brevin Pritzl scored a career-high 17 points and knocked down three from beyond from the arc in his first start, while fellow sophomore D’Mitrik Trice added 13 points and five assists. South Carolina State was within 58-46 near the midway point of the second half, but the Badgers answered with a 20-2 run that included eight points by Van Vliet, including three-pointers on back-to-back possessions.
“Tonight felt good,” Van Vliet commented. “I was a little bit nervous before, which I think is normal. But it felt good to be on the floor and after two years of not really playing, to finally be playing in the Kohl Center.”
The Yale Bulldogs are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog by at least 13 points
- 1-5 ATS in their last six games as a road underdog
The Wisconsin Badgers are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a favorite
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a home favorite
- 7-1 Under in their last eight games as a favorite by at least 13 points
Wisconsin is featuring plenty of newcomers who are trying to help junior center Ethan Happ, a first team All-Big Ten performer and Defensive Player of the Year last season. Happ opened the 2017-18 campaign with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting while adding 11 rebounds and two steals in 28 minutes against South Carolina State. Talented freshmen Brad Davison (five points, two assists) and Kobe King (six points three rebounds) played 14 and 18 minutes off the bench, respectively. The Badgers shot 57 percent from the field, drained 10-of-23 from the three-point line and held the opposition to 34-percent shooting while winning the battle of the boards 41 to 22. Wisconsin’s depth and talent should be too much in this one, especially given that Yale is still without Mason. The Bulldogs are also without sophomore forward Jordan Bruner (8.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg) for the season due to a knee injury.