The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team has shown some signs of returning to dominance over the beginning part of the 2018/19 season. UW has regressed recently though losing 3 of 4. Things don’t get any easier in the January 14th Big Ten CBB free pick as the Badgers visit Maryland who has won 5 in a row. The Terrapins are 10-2 on their home court – do they get an easy one on Monday as -3.5 favorites?
Does Wisconsin Have Upset on Their Minds?
This year’s Badgers team is so unpredictable that it’s conceivable they win this game outright – or lose by a dozen. Wisconsin beat Xavier 77-68 back in early November as +2 underdogs which at the time seemed like a signature win. The Musketeers are down this year however with just an 11-7 record. Otherwise UW has been favored in each of their 11 wins. What’s worse about the Badgers 3 losses in the last 4 is that they’ve been favored in each, including home defeats vs. Minnesota and Purdue.
The big question for the Badgers in the January 14th Big Ten CBB free pick is if Ethan Happ can get anything going down low vs. the huge Maryland front line. Happ had 18/9 in the Badgers regular season loss to Maryland and 14/7 in the conference tournament win. Happ had 31/13 last time out vs. Purdue, his 2nd 30+ point contest in the last 7. Maryland’s strength this year is their post presence however. Can the inconsistent D’Mitrik Trice or Brad Davison be relied upon to help UW get the win.
Maryland Aims to Stay Hot Monday Night
The Terrapins have put a nice run together with wins in 8 of their last 10 games. Maryland had a solid 78-75 home win over #22 Indiana Friday night and had two conference road wins by 14+ points prior to that. The Terrapins have scored 74+ points in seven straight games. It’s the Maryland defense that could really decide the January 14th Big Ten CBB free pick however. Mark Turgeon’s team has held 4 of the last 6 conference opponents to 67 points or less. Wisconsin had a meager 14 point half three games ago vs. Minnesota – one of the reasons tonight’s O/U is just 131.
One of the reasons the Badgers have a great chance of controlling Happ down low is 6’10, 240 pound Bruno Fernando – the other is 6’10 freshman Jalen Smith. Fernando is the best shot blocker in the Big Ten and has turned himself into a likely NBA lottery pick this season. The sophomore had 25/13 vs. Indiana – his 5th double double the last 6 games. Smith is a great rebounder (8+ in 4 of 6) who has also scored 14+ in 5 of 6. Production is an inside-out game for Maryland however as junior Anthony Cowan is averaging 25.5 ppg the last two.
January 14th Big Ten CBB Free PIck Betting
On paper it seems like Maryland is just too much for the Badgers. Wisconsin has one of the best big men in the nation in Happ, but he’s got an extremely tough matchup on the blocks. The Badgers don’t have enough secondary options and their play lately has the team downtrodden. A burst from a home crowd would be one thing – but it’s going to be hard for Wisconsin to keep things close in front of a rowdy XFINITY Center crowd in College Park.
Big Ten Free Pick: Maryland Terrapins -3.5