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Wisconsin vs. Arizona: Badgers look to unseat No. 1

The Badgers head to Tucson to face the undefeated Wildcats on Saturday.

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Arizona Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers take on the No. 1 Arizona Wildcats at 3:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 9. The Badgers look to hand undefeated Arizona their first loss of the season as the teams tip off in Tucson.

Wisconsin (7-2) grabbed a big win over Michigan State in Big Ten play in their latest game, defeating the Spartans 70-57. This win came right on the heels of a win over top-10 Marquette, who the Badgers beat 75-64. The Badgers’ two losses this season have come at the hands of Tennessee and Providence.

The Badgers rank 12th overall at KenPom. They rank 29th in the country in scoring defense, and are led by guard AJ Storr on offense, averaging 14.2 points per game. Forward Steven Crowl adds 7.7 rebounds per game. But the metrics may be less important here than the margins of their wins against top teams. The Badgers are shutting down some very talented rosters at the moment. Can they do it again against the top team in the country?

Arizona (7-0) leads the country in a variety of metrics including rebound margin (19) and rebounds per game (47.1). The Wildcats rank second in the nation in scoring margin and third in scoring offense. They rank fourth in the nation overall at KenPom and fifth in adjusted defensive efficiency.

The Wildcats have yet to lose a game and have grabbed wins over Duke and Michigan State, both of whom rank in the top 30 at KenPom. Their offense is evenly spread out, with all five starters averaging double-digit points per game. Three players average over five rebounds per game, as well. They are led by Caleb Love, whose name you may remember from his days at North Carolina. Love leads the team in points per game (13.3), assists per game (4.4), and steals per game (1.6).

In their two close wins over MSU and Duke, which they achieved by a combined margin of 11, rebounding was the key to Arizona’s win. When every other metric looked virtually identical, the Wildcats separated themselves at the board.

Wisconsin vs. Arizona Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Arizona -9.5
Total: 143.5
Moneyline: Arizona -485, Wisconsin +370

Pick: Arizona -9.5

Arizona is bigger, faster, higher-scoring, and better-rebounding than Wisconsin. They beat the Badgers everywhere it matters, and they have home court advantage. I’m taking the Wildcats to cover.