Is there an upset brewing heading into the NCAA tournament Wisconsin vs Baylor game? The Badgers looked mighty impressive in dispelling ACC challenger North Carolina on Friday, 85-62 as +2 point underdogs. UW has gone through the dogfight that is the Big Ten this year, so they’re ready for the test that is #1 seed Baylor.
The Bears are incredibly deep though, something that is going to make them tougher and tougher to beat as the tournament goes on. Baylor dominated Hartford 79-55 in the round of 64, but that was expected as -25.5 favorites. Oddsmakers have BU as -6.5 favorites vs. Wisconsin.
Badgers Defense Gets a Challenge
Wisconsin put the clamps on North Carolina early in the round of 64, holding the Tar Heels to just 24 second half points. UNC ended up with 68 points, but a lot of those came after UW called off the dogs, so to speak. North Carolina was the #5 scoring team in the ACC during the regular season.
Defense is the Badgers’ calling card heading into the NCAA tournament Wisconsin vs Baylor matchup. Wisconsin led the Big Ten (which sent 9 teams to the tourney) with just 64.2 ppg allowed. The Badgers have the #13 adjusted defensive efficiency in the nation, but that is going to be put to the test against a Baylor team that has the 3rd best AdjO in the country.
Wisconsin’s chances probably swing on how well Brad Davison’s shot is falling. The Senior only averaged 9.2 ppg during the regular season, but hit 10-15 from the floor and 5-7 from three to lead the upset over UNC. D’Mitrik Trice was big with 21 points vs. the Tar Heels as well, and could be getting his stroke back after 19 in the Big Ten tournament loss to Iowa.
Baylor Can’t Look Ahead
Wisconsin is 18-12 on the year, a nice record but especially when playing in the Big Ten. The Badgers played the 8th toughest SOS in regards to opponent’s offense, and 7th best in opposing defenses. Baylor was 90th and 67th in those categories respectively, even though the Big 12 sent 7 teams to the tournament.
The Bears have already matched up with Big Ten royalty once this year though, beating fellow #1 seed Illinois 82-69 back in December. One thing about Baylor is that they can survive a bad game from one of their leading scorers like Jared Butler or MaCio Teague, but Wisconsin probably isn’t going to win if Davison and/or Trice struggle.
Davion Mitchell has a couple 20+ point games over the last six, Adam Flagler hit for a dozen in the win over Hartford, and Matthew Mayer had an 18 and a 19 point game off the bench to kick off March. Those are solid options, and that’s IF Butler or Teague struggle. Teague has 22+ in 3 of the last 4, and Butler has 18+ in 4 of the last 6.
Free NCAA Tournament Wisconsin vs Baylor Pick
The obvious choice would be Baylor -6.5 here. They are the #1 seed, have the horses, and looked good in the opening round. UW played in the tough Big Ten this year though, has a defense that travels, and is also very familiar with Lucas Oil Stadium, where their conference tournament was held last week.
Baylor 72 – Wisconsin 69
Free Pick: Wisconsin +6.5