11 Wisconsin (21-4) @ Michigan (19-6)
Crisler Center – Ann Arbor, Michigan 7:00pm EST – ESPN
Off-shore Consensus Opening Line: Michigan -1 -110
Consensus Betting Percentage: 66% Wisconsin
Consensus Current Line: Michigan – 1 -115
Pinnacle Line: Michigan – 1 -106
John Beilein and the Michigan Wolverines look to make it 3 wins in a row this evening as they play host to Greg Gard and the reeling Wisconsin Badgers who look to bounce back after their disappointing home loss to Northwestern on Sunday. Wisconsin won the first game between the two, in Madison, 68-64; a game in which Wisconsin out-executed with an inside out game -getting the ball to Ethan Happ inside (11pts) and feeding Bronson Koenig (16pts) from the arc.
Michigan (6-6 in-conference) comes into this game on a two-game winning streak, destroying in-state rival Michigan State, 86-57, and pulling off a road win in Indiana, 75-63. Against Sparty, Michigan shot an impressive 60% from the field, hitting 48% from three, and 86% from the line. They also managed to play a clean game, turning the ball over 8 times, while forcing 21 turnovers of their own. In Indiana, once again, Michigan forced double the amount of turnovers they committed, while putting on another strong shooting performance – this time from the free throw line where they managed to hit 15 of 19 attempts. The Wolverines come into this game looking to continue their strong momentum, while seeking revenge from the loss in Madison.
Wisconsin, while having a strong year and currently leading the Big Ten (10-2), is looking to shake off a home loss to Northwestern in which they closed an 11.5 point favorite. The Badgers were simply not hitting shots against Northwestern, shooting 38% from the field while also managing the turn the ball over 12 times in comparison to the Wildcats’ 6 turnovers. Koenig really struggled from the three point line, going 0-5 and finishing with 2 points. This loss snapped an 8 game winning streak, and now Wisconsin will look to get back on track tonight in Ann Arbor as a short underdog.
On offense, Wisconsin touts the 36th most efficient one behind Sophomore big-man Ethan Happ, who could certainly be in the running for AP Player of the Year in College Basketball. They beat you inside with Happ, shooting a 52.4% FG% (64th NCAA), while also dominating the offensive glass (14th NCAA). The Badgers take care of the ball, only turning it over on 17.3% of possessions, which ranks 76th in the nation. Their weakness lies in the free-throw game, in which they often fail to get to the line (243th NCAA), and when they do, only shoot 66.6% (281st NCAA).
The Michigan defense is just slightly above average, ranking 113th in overall efficiency, but allows a 53% FG%, which puts them at 283rd in the country. They do excel at keeping opposing teams off of the line (31st NCAA), but this shouldn’t be all that important vs. a Wisconsin team that fails to get to the line as it is and struggles when they do get there. Where the Wolverines really fall short, however, is perimeter defense, allow a 3P% of 39.8 (339th NCAA), but against a Wisconsin team that only shoots 35.2 percent from 3, this shouldn’t hurt them too badly. Overall, the Michigan defense, though not great, but should be able to contain this inside game for the Badgers with their size (22nd NCAA), and hang in there as long as Wisconsin isn’t hitting 3’s.
On offense, Michigan brings the 8th best in terms of efficiency, shooting a 56.1% effective FG% (18th NCAA). They are one of the best teams in the nation (4th overall) in terms of avoiding turnovers, and top 10 in avoiding steals. The Wolverines shoot 38.4% from 3 (38th NCAA) and hit nearly 80% of free-throws ranking 4th in the nation. They do find trouble getting to the line, however, ranking 289th in college basketball which could pose a problem vs. a Wisconsin defense that rates 12th overall in keeping teams off of the line. Offensive rebounding is their only other real weakness on O (270th NCAA), which once again, is bad matchup with a Wisconsin team that ranks 26th overall in defensive rebounding.
The defensive rebounding and sound fundamental defense highlight this Badger one that grades out as 8th overall in efficiency, holding teams to a 46.2% FG% (34th NCAA). They feature a very strong post-D, ranking 6th overall in 2P% defense, and do it without fouling as mentioned earlier. There only real liability is there perimeter D, ranking 248th overall in 3P% defense which could play a factor vs. a Michigan team that shoots 38.4% from three (38th NCAA). Rebounding and perimeter defense will play key roles when Michigan is on offense and if the Badgers can defend the 3 ball, Michigan will be in trouble, if not and Michigan shoots like they have been they will likely prevail victorious.
Wisconsin is 1-4 ATS in last 5 games.
Wisconsin is 1-4 ATS in last 5 road games.
Michigan is 4-0 ATS in last 4 games vs. a team with a winning percentage above 60%.
Though we are seeing 66% the early action on Wisconsin, we’ve seen a small reverse line move on the juice in favor of Michigan. Opening a -110 we are now seeing a consensus of -115 which would indicate possible sharp action on the Wolverines.