Wisconsin Badgers vs. North Texas Mean Green Betting Preview
The NIT semifinals begin on Tuesday night, March 28th, with the first matchup featuring the Wisconsin Badgers (20-14) against the North Texas Mean Green (29-7). The winner will move on to the NIT Championship game to face either Utah Valley or UAB.
Tip-off of Tuesday’s bout is at 7 p.m. EST inside Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. North Texas is a 1.5-point favorite while the over/under total 115.5 points.
What to Know – Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers are appearing in the NIT for the fifth time in school history, already advancing further than the four previous attempts. Wisconsin has beaten Bradley, Liberty, and Oregon to get to the NIT Final Four.
Offensively, the Badgers were one of the lowest-scoring teams in the Big Ten, ranking 13th while averaging 65.6 points per game, 41.6% shooting from the field, and 34.3% from the 3-point line. Wisconsin’s defense carried the Badgers, sitting fifth in the conference limiting opponents to 63.8 ppg, 44.4% shooting from the floor, and 31.7 from beyond the arc.
You won’t find one dominant player on offense in the Badgers lineup, but a cast of four to five players that provide a majority of the offensive input. Forward Steven Crowl (12.2 ppg) and guard Chucky Hepburn (12.1 ppg) lead a lineup of Beavers that have five players averaging between 8.6 and 12.2 ppg.
Wisconsin is 15-18-1 against the spread this season and 4-1 ATS playing at a neutral location. The Badgers own a 1-5 record ATS over their last six matchups against opponents from Conference USA.
What to Know – North Texas Mean Green
North Texas made the school’s first appearance in the NIT last season, advancing through the first round before being knocked out by Virginia in Round 2. The Mean Green own victories over Alcorn State, Sam Houston State, and Oklahoma State.
The Mean Green offense was also nothing to behold this year, as UNT was last in C-USA, scoring 64.7 ppg by shooting 43.6% from the floor and 35.5% from three. North Texas reaped benefits on the defensive side, leading the league by holding opposing teams to 55.7 ppg, 39.2% shooting from the field and a 30.1% clip from deep.
Guard Tylon Perry (17.3 ppg) paced the Mean Green offense during the regular season and has led UNT in scoring in each of the three NIT contests. Perry is averaging 22.3 ppg in NIT play.
The Mean Green sport a 19-14-1 mark ATS and a 4-3 showing in games played on a neutral floor. North Texas has trended well ATS over the last two months, featuring an 11-3 mark ATS over the previous 14 games.
The Pick is In
Two defensive-minded teams take the floor with a spot in the championship on the line. Metrics have these two teams deadlocked on the defensive end, with North Texas scoring much better in offensive efficiency. We like North Texas in a toss-up.
The Pick: North Texas Mean Green -1.5