College Basketball today will see the potential No. 1 team in the country take the floor as the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines take on the Wisconsin Badgers. The game is scheduled for a 12:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have Michigan as a small favorite.
When Michigan takes the floor today at the Kohl Center, they'll be playing for the top overall spot in the country for the second time this season. Michigan was ranked No. 1 previously this season, but lost to Indiana last Saturday. It's almost ironic that the Wolverines could be the top overall team in college basketball again just one week later after the Hoosiers' loss at Illinois.
Wisconsin won't be an easy pushover, either. Michigan is a high-flying team that comes into the contest averaging better than 77 points per game. Yet, Bo Ryan's team is 12-2 at home this season and is giving up just 56.2 points overall on the season. That's the best numbers defensively of any team in the Big Ten. Michigan, who does shoot and knock down a lot of triples, will have to beat the Badgers' 30.6 percent 3-point defense. Teams have connected on just 89 triples total against Wisconsin this season.
Wolverine guard Trey Burke might be the best player in the country but in the team's last two games, which they split, he's taken an awful lot of 3-pointers when his team probably could have gotten a better shot. Look for him to play more poised and under control in today's game.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had a monster game against Ohio State, pouring in 23 points, including knocking down six of nine triples against the Buckeyes. He's playing the off-guard position extremely well right now and with Burke makes up the best backcourt in America. How will Wisconsin guard them? Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson will have that tough task today. If they are able to slow down Michigan and keep the Wolverines from running in transition, this game could be very close.
The one knock against the Wolverines is that they don't have a dominant post-player, but both Mitch McGary and Jon Horford have played well in the absence of Jordan Morgan. McGary plays all-out all the time and Horford has given Michigan some very good minutes down low. If Michigan, who scores a lot in the paint based on layups, gets solid play from one or both of those guys today, it could prove to be big for the Wolverines.
Either way, one of them will have to man up against Jared Berggren. Wisconsin at home is out-scoring opponents by 20.5 points per game while holding them to 36.8 percent from the floor. That makes them great.
Don't expect a lot of turnovers in this game. Wisconsin and Michigan rank first and third, respectively, in the country in turnovers per game, both under 9.5 giveaways per game. It's safe to say the team that doesn't turn it over more will probably win.
We think that team is Michigan. If Nik Stauskas can step into 3's and shoot well, Michigan will win. Stauskas shoots better than 48 percent from downtown this season. Oh yeah, Michigan doesn't foul either — they lead the country in only fouling 12.2 times per game. Without turning it over and playing fundamentally sound the Wolverines get it done today.
Free Pick: Michigan 64, Wisconsin 57
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