Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#653 Indiana 129 vs.
#654 Wisconsin
Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 4:30pm EST
Written by Blake V.

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#653 Indiana University
#654 University of Wisconsin-Madison
8-0
4-4
16-19
16-16-2
16-19
15-19
71
68
67
61

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One of this weekend’s premier college basketball games will take place when Indiana and Wisconsin match-up in a Big Ten battle. The Hoosiers will hit the road for the first time this season, having won all eight of their home games to start the year. They are off to a 6-2 start against-the-spread. The Badgers have struggled without Ethan Happ, going 4-4 in their first eight games. They have also been bad covering the spread, going 2-6 ATS. Wisconsin has won seven of the last 10 meetings between the two teams.

Indiana looking to stay unbeaten

Indiana has taken care of business in every game this season. The Hoosiers have had an easy schedule thus far, only facing one team from a major conference. Their lone ‘quality win’ came in their last game—an 80-64 drubbing of No. 17 Florida State on Tuesday. Indiana has won every contest by double digits. Sophomore guard Rob Phinisee has not played since Nov. 20 against Princeton, as he is in concussion protocol and is dealing with an injury. Phinisee scored 9.0 points per game and dished out 4.5 assists per outing in the four games that he saw action. Indiana joins Ohio State and Maryland as the only undefeated teams left in the Big Ten.

The Hoosiers are led by senior guard Devonte Green, who missed the first three games of the season with a hamstring injury. Green has been fantastic in the five contests that he has played in, scoring 15.8 points per game and dishing out 3.2 assists per outing. He is an efficient 14 of 27 from the 3-point line. Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis has made an immediate impact, scoring 15.5 points per game and leading the team with 9.4 rebounds per contest. He has started all eight games. Junior forward Justin Smith is adding 14.3 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per outing. Junior guard Aljami Durham is also in double figures, scoring 12.6 points per game. He is 11 of 28 from the 3-point line.

Wisconsin hoping to end losing skid

Wisconsin is struggling right now, having lost each of its last three games. The Badgers opened the season with their other loss, which came in an overtime defeat at the hands of No. 20 Saint Mary’s. They picked up all four of their wins in consecutive games following the season-opening loss, beating Eastern Illinois, McNeese State, Marquette and Green Bay. However, the last three games have not gone well for the Badgers. Wisconsin lost to Richmond as six-point favorites, lost to New Mexico as 6.5-point favorites and lost to North Carolina State as 5.5-point underdogs.

The Badgers are led by junior forward Nate Reuvers, who is scoring 14.9 points per game and is leading the team with 5.4 rebounds per game. Junior guard Brad Davison is scoring 11.0 points per game and is adding 4.0 rebounds. Davison is 10 of 33 from beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Kobe King is scoring 10.4 points per game and is adding 4.0 rebounds per outing. Junior forward Aleem Ford is the final player scoring in double digits for Wisconsin, as he is scoring 10.1 points per game. Junior guard D’Mitrik Trice is the team’s leading 3-point shooter with a 13 of 43 mark from downtown.

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Indiana is in for a battle when it goes on the road for the first time this season. Home court advantage is a very real thing in college basketball, and it is going to be a major factor here. Wisconsin has not been good during its last three games, but the Badgers have too many upperclassmen to not show up in the first Big Ten game of the season. Indiana is going to miss Phinisee’s ball-handling ability on the road against a Wisconsin team that prides itself on the defensive side of the ball. I like the Badgers to pull off the win at home.

Prediction: Wisconsin +1

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Wisconsin might be off to a slow start this season, but the Badgers’ are still playing well on the defensive end. Even with the bad stretch, Wisconsin is still No. 34 in the country in overall defense. Indiana looks to get up and down the court a little more than Wisconsin, but the Hoosiers also play solid defense, ranking No. 29 in overall defense. The Badgers’ slow pace of play will be a huge factor in this game going under the total, as Wisconsin is No. 347 in KenPom’s adjusted tempo rankings. I like this to be a low scoring game as both teams ease into conference play.

Prediction: Under 128.5
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Written By Blake V.

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.