Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball • Michigan Wolverines “It’s a Madhouse in Madison” (2/41)

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Wisconsin Badgers

History has a funny way of repeating itself... Wisconsin Men's Basketball has had some memorable upsets of top-10 teams at the Kohl Center. What's in store Saturday against No. 2 Michigan?

 

Michigan vs. Wisconsin odds, line: College basketball picks, top predictions from model on 22-8 roll

Saturday’s college basketball slate tips off with a Big Ten battle between Michigan and Wisconsin at noon ET. The No. 2 Wolverines (17-0, 6-0) are off to their best start in program history and will look to make it 18 in a row with a victory at the Kohl Center on Saturday. Meanwhile, Wisconsin will look to get back to its winning ways after losing its last two games by a combined eight points. The latest Michigan vs. Wisconsin odds have the Wolverines favored by 3.5 points, with the over-under, or total points Vegas thinks will be scored, at 128. Before you make any Michigan vs. Wisconsin picks and college basketball predictions, you’ll want to see what SportsLine’s advanced computer model has to say.

This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has raked in the winnings for those following its picks. Over the past two years, the SportsLine Projection Model has returned over $5,200 to $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks. And it enters Week 11 of the 2018-19 college basketball season on a strong 22-8 run on all of its top-rated picks. Anybody who has followed it is way up.

Now it’s locked in on Michigan vs. Wisconsin. We can tell you it’s leaning over, but it’s also locked in a confident against the spread pick that hits in over 50 percent of simulations. You can only see that one at SportsLine.

The model knows the Wolverines enter Saturday’s game as the hottest team in the nation. Michigan has jumped out to its first ever 17-0 start thanks to its stingy defense. The Wolverines currently rank third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing opponents to score just 56.6 points per game.

On offense, Michigan features three players averaging over 13 points per game. The Wolverines are a team loaded with upperclassmen like senior guard Charles Matthews, who’s averaging 14.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, but its freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis who has been filling the stat sheet as of late. In fact, Brazdeikis has scored 15 or more points in four of his last six outings and he’ll look to provide a spark again on Saturday against the Badgers.

But just because the Wolverines have been red-hot to start the season doesn’t mean they can cover this Michigan vs. Wisconsin spread.

For the Badgers to pull off the upset against Michigan, they’ll need a big game from senior forward Ethan Happ. The 6’10” senior leads the team in points (19.4), rebounds (10.4) and assists (4.6), and he’s coming off an impressive performance against Purdue last week that saw him record 31 points and 13 rebounds. Happ’s big-bodied frame allows him to back down defenders inside the paint and get the shot he covets. In fact, he’s shooting a remarkable 57 percent from the field this season.

The Badgers have also had major success against Michigan at home. John Beilein has won at the Kohl Center just twice since taking over at Michigan in 2007. Plus, Wisconsin boasts a remarkable 5-2 record at home against AP Top-5 teams.

So which side of the Michigan vs. Wisconsin spread hits in over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Michigan vs. Wisconsin spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed college hoops, and find out.

Michigan basketball gameday: perfect record, No. 1 ranking on line at Wisconsin

Sports photographer
Michigan center Jon Teske (15) and Northwestern center Dererk Pardon (5) chase down the ball during the first half of their Big Ten basketball game at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on Sunday, January 13, 2019. (Mike Mulholland | MLive.com) (Mike Mulholland | [email protected])

Who: No. 2 Michigan Wolverines (17-0, 6-0) at Wisconsin Badgers (11-6, 3-3)

Where: Kohl Center (Madison, Wisconsin)

When: Saturday, Jan. 19, noon ET (11:00 a.m. CT)

Point spread: Michigan -2.5

Watch: ESPN

Listen: Detroit: WWJ-950 AM; Ann Arbor: WTKA-1050 AM; anywhere: MGoBlue.com

Tickets: Sold out

Follow: Andrew Kahn

Several streaks came to an end last year during Wisconsin’s 15-18 season. It was the first time the program hadn’t reached the NCAA Tournament in 20 years and the first time the Badgers didn’t finish in the top four of the Big Ten in 18 years.

The Badgers, it appears, are back.

Despite four losses in their last five games, their All-America candidate is surrounded by a healthy supporting cast. Combined with Wisconsin’s success at home, particularly against highly-ranked competition, and Michigan will have to be in the neighborhood of great to stay perfect.

Michigan is one of just two undefeated teams, along with Virgina. Both have stiff road tests on Saturday. Virginia tips six hours after Michigan at No. 1 Duke, a team that already lost this week. In other words, the top spot in the rankings could belong to a new team come Monday.

For that to be Michigan, it will have to find a defensive strategy that works against the 6-foot-10 Ethan Happ and Wisconsin’s 3-point shooters. “We need some mix of trying to make every point Happ makes difficult — tough 2s — but also take away their 3-point game and their offensive rebounding at the same time,” Michigan head coach John Beilein said.

“It seems like we’ve been guarding Happ for 16 years,” Beilein said of the fifth-year senior who has started every game of his career. “I’m going to be so glad when he’s long gone.”

Happ’s matchup with Jon Teske will be critical. If Teske is in foul trouble, Michigan will have to scramble. Brandon Johns Jr. had a breakout game off the bench Jan. 6 against Indiana, but the freshman has only played two minutes total in the two games since.

Asked about Johns on Friday, Beilein said, “It depends probably on the matchup of who we see and what he does in practice. What the situation is in the game. What switching patterns they’re in. Right now, Isaiah (Livers) is our back-up (center) just as much as Austin (Davis) or Brandon, and it depends on the opponent — any three of those guys could be the first guy off the bench at that position. I’d feel much better when we got consistent there. We’re trying to get there.”

Livers, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, is fully healthy after missing two games because of a back issue. Michigan has had extra time to rest, having not played since Sunday’s 20-point win over Northwestern. It is one of two extended breaks each Big Ten team gets during league play. Michigan’s next layoff won’t come until before its final regular season game.

Wisconsin will visit Ann Arbor on Feb. 9.

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