Badgers & Wildcats To Push It Past The Total

Northwestern Wildcats players celebrating

Sunday, February 12, 2017 2:09 PM GMT

A double-digit favorite at home on the NCAA basketball odds, Wisconsin looks to pad its lead in the Big Ten with a 9th-straight win today against the Northwestern Wildcats.

If there's one thing we learned from Saturday's early release of the top 16 seeds for the NCAA Tournament, it's that the Big Ten has some work to do the next few weeks in order to impress the selection committee. The conference was shut out in the top 4 seeds in the early bracket despite having a team in the top 10 of the two latest polls and another in the top 10 of the BPI.

Of course, the Northwestern Wildcats don't really care where they are seeded, as long as they get their first-ever invite to the Big Dance. That streak of futility would seem a certainty to change this season with the Wildcats sitting comfortably inside the top 64 teams of several indexes and ratings, but just to make sure, they could impress the committee with a win today on the road at the Wisconsin Badgers (6:30 PM ET).

Kohl Center in Madison will host one of the final games on Sunday's card, the Badgers currently favored by 10 points where the scoreboard target is set at 127½ points.

 

'Cats Still Without Top Scorer Lindsey

Northwestern (18-6 straight up, 15-6 against the odds) was recently in the AP top 25, though just barely, but Chris Collins' crew dropped their last two games at Purdue and to Illinois at home a few days ago, failing to cover the NCAA basketball odds in either game. The Wildcats were off on the offensive end in the two losses, as well as lacking in perimeter defense as the Illini and Boilermakers combined to shoot 47.6% from 3-point land (20-42). They were also without leading scorer Scottie Lindsey in those games, and the junior guard is expected to sit this one out as well due to a bout of mononucleosis.

A win today would give Wisconsin (21-3 SU, 11-10 ATS) a 2-game lead at the top of the Big Ten standings, the Badgers still with just the one conference setback at Purdue a little more than a month ago. Greg Gard's group has since reeled off 8-straight dubyas but managed to cover only three of the spreads in that stretch, totals running 5-3 O/U along the way.

 

Chalk Has Been Best Bet In Recent Years

This is the only scheduled clash between the schools this season, Wisconsin leading the old rivalry by a considerable 114-63 margin. They also met just once last year when Northwestern grabbed a 70-65 win in Evanston where the Wildcats were giving up a point. The most recent matchup in Madison came almost exactly two years ago, the Badgers posting a comfortable 65-50 decision though that wasn't comfortable enough to cover a big 20 point spread. Favorites are 11-3 ATS the past 14, and the last two at Kohl Center never reached the totals.

Winning in Madison is tough enough when everyone's healthy; doing so without your top scorer would seem an impossible task for Northwestern. I'm still not sold, however, that the Badgers can win by double digits are given their recent play. I do believe there will be enough scoring to send this one past the number, so put me down for a free college basketball pick on the 'over.'

 

Free NCAAB Pick: Over 127½ Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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