The Wisconsin Badgers are among the surprise teams in college basketball this season, and they were rewarded by their first two rounds being held in Milwaukee as the No. 3 seed of the Midwest region. They will take on the No. 13 Colgate Raiders on Friday, March 18th at 9:50 p.m. ET in a game that will air on TBS. Oddsmakers believe this will be the closest of all the 3 vs. 14 matchups in the first round.
No. 3 Wisconsin: 24-7 (15-5 Big Ten): At-large
KenPom rating: 33 Overall, 47 Offense, 37 Defense
NET ranking: 24, (9-3 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Johnny Davis (19.7 ppg)
Key stat: Wisconsin is 15-3 in games decided by six points or less.
The Wisconsin Badgers have seen a breakout performance from Johnny Davis this season, and fans should enjoy him while they can because he’s projected to be a top-10 pick in plenty of NBA mock drafts. He does it all for this Badgers team that has played in tons of close games but does not panic in tight moments down the stretch.
Watch for Wisconsin to get Tyler Wahl more involved offensively. As Davis struggled in the Big Ten title game, Wahl attempted just four shots and needs to be used more with his ability around the basket.
No. 14 Colgate: 23-11 (16-2 Patriot League): Auto Bid
KenPom rating: 119 Overall, 79 Offense, 203 Defense
NET ranking: 128 (0-2 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Nelly Cummings (14.5 ppg)
Key stat: Colgate ranks No. 2 nationally in three-point shooting percentage.
The Colgate Raiders won 19 of their last 20 games heading into Friday night including 15 in a row after a bad start to their season. Their defense isn’t very good according to some of the advanced analytics, but their ability to shot 3-pointers gives them a shot at pulling off an upset or two.
Watch for Colgate to not give up many possessions as they were the best in the Patriot League in assist/turnover ratio.
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: Wisconsin -8
Point total: 139.5
Moneyline: Wisconsin -350, Colgate +270
Against The Spread Pick: Colgate +8
Point total pick: Under 139.5
Pick to Win: Wisconsin
The Badgers hate beating teams by a ton of points no matter the talent difference as they saw with a three-point victory over Nicholls followed by a four-point win over Illinois State to close out their non-conference portion of the schedule. It’s hard to imagine Wisconsin blowing a well-coached team out right out of the gate when they’ve found themselves in such close games. Neither team plays all that fast offensively, so let’s go with the under as well.