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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Belmont Bruins

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Playing extremely solid to round out the regular season,Wisconsin was picked as one of the favorites to make a great run in the Big Tentournament.

But the Badgers were completely shut down in their firstpostseason action, losing 33-36 in what was a crazy game all around.

They made just 15 field goals in total, connecting on only29.4 percent of their shots from the field. The Wisconsin Badgers only hit two of their21 attempts from long range as well.

Jordan Taylor accounted for nearly half of the team’s pointtotal, scoring 16 on 7-of-21 shooting. Teammate Jon Leuer did not hit a three(0-of-6) but ended up with 10 points and a team-high six rebounds in thefrustrating defeat.

Clearly the Badgers will look for a better offensiveperformance in Thursday’s opening tournament affair but it definitely won’t bea walk in the park.

Belmont went an impressive 30-4 SU on the season and won allsix of its games that were played at a neutral site.

The Belmont Bruins also won the Atlantic Sun with ease, beatingNorth Florida 87-64 in the title game as the staggering 18.5-point favorites.Mick Hedgepeth led the way with 23 points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes ofaction.

Defense, Defense, Defense

Entering this game the Badgers are 3-6 ATS in their lastnine while the Bruins went 1-2 ATS in their three postseason matchups.

The opening NCAA basketball line was at six points withWisconsin favored but as of now the Badgers were 4.5-point favorites at theprominent sportsbooks.

Experienced coach Bo Ryan always seems to put out strongteams and it’s safe to say that the Badgers have exceeded all expectations thisseason.

The Badgers pride themselves on defense and are notsusceptible to making too many mistakes on either end of the court.

They were phenomenal at home all season long, goingundefeated at the Kohl Center and beating some elite teams in the process.Knocking off Ohio State and Purdue among others, Wisconsin proved it could takecare of business at home.

But can the Badgers have that same kind of success inunfamilar territory?

They went just 5-6 SU in 11 games away from home and theBruins will not make it easy on them. Belmont is very solid defensively as welland with that in mind I actually like a play on the UNDER as I don’t see pointscoming easy for either side.

Morever, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bruins actually pickup the upset win on Thursday as they have the makeup to give the Badgers plentyof problems.

[gameodds]ncaab/119216/1-8-11/us[/gameodds]