Indiana vs. Wisconsin Picks and Big Ten Basketball Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 3/16/2013
The Big Ten is the most overrated conference in college basketball.
You’ve been warned.
Indiana, the top team in the conference, will take on Wisconsin in a Big Ten tournament semifinal at 1:40 p.m. on Saturday in Chicago.
The winner will advance to Sunday afternoon’s Big Ten title game. Both teams are securely in the NCAA Tournament field, which will be announced Sunday evening. But both are hunting or regional bragging rights as well as an opportunity to improve their overall tournament seeding.
Here is a breakdown ofone of this weekend’s topmatchups:
Indiana vs. Wisconsin Betting Story Lines
This game is a rematch of one of the Big Ten’s bigger upsets this year. Wisconsin went to Bloomington and beat Indiana handily, winning 64-59 as a 10.5-point underdog. Wisconsin limited the Hoosiers to just 26.9 percent shooting in the second half of that game and built up a 10-point lead late in that contest.
That win was Wisconsin’s 11th straight over the Hoosiers, and it is safe to say Bo Ryan owns Indiana.
The Hoosiers will certainly have revenge on their mind. And they are also trying to lock up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Indiana is probably already set as one of the top four seeds, but advancing to the Big Ten Championship would lock it up.
The Hoosiers have played two of their best games of the season in the past week. They gutted out a 72-71 win at Michigan last Sunday to earn the Big Ten regular season title outright. They then manhandled Illinois – one of the other teams to beat them in league play this year – 80-64 in the quarterfinals.
Indiana is led by swingman Victor Oladipo and power forward Cody Zeller. Those two combine to average 30.7 points, 14.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Some advanced metrics have them as two of the 10 most efficient players in the country.
Wisconsin advanced thanks to an outstanding second half against Michigan in the quarterfinals. They outscored the Wolverines 51-39 in the final 20 minutes to tally a 68-59 victory. Prior to that, Wisconsin had looked awful in the first half against UM, had looked awful in a 63-60 win over hapless Penn State, and had looked awful in back-to-back double-digit losses to Purdue and Michigan State.
The Badgers will try to slow this game down, while Indiana will want to get out and run and use their superior offensive skill. The more possessions there are in the game, the more things favor the talent of the Hoosiers. But Wisconsin is a team that tests teams mentally as well as physically, and the Badgers will do everything they can to fluster the top seeded Hoosiers.
The Badgers have been winning games and overachieving all season thanks to guile, misdirection, and Bo Ryan’s game plan. The Badgers do it with smoke and mirrors, and they really have a pretty mediocre resume over the past two months. This is not a team that I trust or think very highly of.
However, Ryan is a savant. He thrives in the underdog role, and his charges certainly won’t be scared of the Hoosiers after having beaten them at IU earlier this year.
Indiana vs. Wisconsin Big Ten Basketball Betting Odds and Key Trends
Wisconsin has dominated this series, going 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings. The Badgers have not lost to Indiana in over five years, and Bo Ryan is always a master in these types of situations. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five matchups. The Badgers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games on a neutral site, and they are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games following a win.
Indiana has been a money burner in tournament games, going just 7-16-1 ATS in their last 24 games on a neutral site. The Hoosiers covered the spread against Illinois and are a solid 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a winner at the window. IU has covered six of its last nine games overall, and they are also 4-1 “over” in their last five neutral site games.
Indiana vs. Wisconsin Picks and Betting Predictions
I’m not a believer in this Wisconsin team. But no one ever made money betting against Bo Ryan teams. Wisconsin is going to turn this game into a slog, like they always do, and this game is difficult to wager on because the outcome is almost solely dependent on whether or not the Badgers make three-point shots. And that’s not really something you can predict with this team; they miss a lot of wide-open threes for no particular reason, and then they seem to get out and start nailing threes out of the blue.
Despite the knock against Big Ten scoring ability, both of these teams have been solid over plays. I have to think that Wisconsin is going to shoot better than they did in that horrific first half against Michigan in the quarterfinals (they scored 17 points). Indiana is also not going to miss the same number of easy shots that Michigan did on Friday. I can see this one going over if the total comes in around 126, give or take a couple points. I like the Hoosiers to pull away late but I feel a stronger play would be on the over.
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