Big Ten Semifinals NCAA Basketball Pick: Purdue vs. Wisconsin

Darin Zank

Saturday, March 14, 2015 11:56 AM GMT

Saturday, Mar. 14, 2015 11:56 AM GMT

Wisconsin is suddenly right back in the running for a No.1 seed. Now with even more at stake the Badgers are favored by almost double-digits for Saturday Big Ten tournament semifinal against Purdue.

 

Badgers-Boilers Betting Odds
Most of the Big Ten tournament NCAA Basketball odds market opened Wisconsin at -9 for this game; many shops then bumped the Badgers to -9.5 in the early betting.

 

Badgers-Boilers: Background
Wisconsin, as the top seed in the Big Ten tournament, had its hands full with ninth-seeded Michigan Friday, eventually grinding out a 71-60 victory but never threatening to cover the spread as a 14-point favorite. The Badgers fell down by nine points in the first half, and didn't take control of the game until the last few minutes. Wisconsin ended up shooting 49 percent from the floor, but allowed the Wolverines several easy baskets, and several open 3-pointers, as Michigan shot 52 percent.

That game was tied at 54 with about five minutes to go, but the Badgers scored 17 of the game's last 23 points.

UW ended the regular season on a 13-1 run, punctuated with a 68-61 victory over Michigan State that gave them a share of the Big 10 title, a 76-63 victory at Minnesota that gave them the title outright, and a 72-48 romp over Ohio State in Columbus last Sunday.

At 29-3 overall, and with a little help from elsewhere (thanks much, North Carolina), Wisconsin is right back in contention for a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Purdue finished its regular season by winning nine of its last 12 games, with five wins against teams that look like they'll make the NCAA tournament. Then, as the four seed in the Big Ten tournament, the Boilers rallied to beat Penn State Friday 64-59. Purdue trailed the Nittany Lions by six points with nine minutes to go, but ended the game on a 20-9 run for the victory.

That game played just about right on the number; Purdue was favored by 5.5 points for most of the betting, then ducked to -4.5 shortly before tip-off.

At 21-11 overall Purdue has probably done just enough already to earn an at-large invitation to the Big Dance. But the Boilers surely wouldn't mind adding a victory over the Big Ten regular-season champs to their resume.

Wisconsin won the only meeting between these teams during the regular season, 62-55 in Madison back in January. But Purdue easily covered the spread that night as 16-point underdogs. The Boilers out-shot the Badgers from the floor 51 to 44 percent, but got outscored at the FT line by a 25-3 margin. Perhaps a little home cookin'?

 

That game stayed way UNDER its total of 135.
The winner of this game will play either Maryland or Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game Sunday afternoon.

 

Badgers-Boilers Betting Trends
Purdue has played 14 UNDERS in its last 19 games, including Friday's victory over Penn State, which played UNDER 128.

Wisconsin has played seven UNDERS in its last 10 games.

The Badgers are 7-12-1 ATS over their last 20 games, in large part because they've been favored by a touch too much a few too many times.

 

Badgers-Boilers Free Pick
These two teams played a grinder back in January, and why would we think Saturday's game would play out any differently? We like the points with the underdog for our college basketball pick in this spot.

Free College Basketball Pick: Purdue +9.5 at BetOnline

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