Destiny on Michigan Side in BIG Ten Championship Game vs. Wisconsin

Willie Bee

Sunday, March 12, 2017 3:09 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 12, 2017 3:09 PM UTC

The last automatic qualifier for the Big Dance will be today's Big Ten Championship winner that finds Wisconsin favored on the NCAA basketball odds against Michigan.

Season: 49-44-4 (-0.50)

 Michigan vs Wisconsin

Big Ten Conference Final

It was the tournament that almost wasn't for the Michigan Wolverines, yet here they are in the Big Ten Championship. The final few weeks of the regular season were something the Wisconsin Badgers would rather forget, but here they are with a chance to make the whole campaign a memorable one with a conference title.

Selection Sunday finds the two old foes battling each other for the crown before sitting back to see where they'll land later this week in the Big Dance. CBS has the tip a little past 3 PM (ET) inside the Verizon Center, and Bookmaker has the Badgers -1½ after beginning the spread a half-point lower. This afternoon's total has also moved a half-point, from an initial 128 to 127½.


Badgers Letting Defense Do Talking

By now, everyone knows the story of how the original plane carrying the Michigan (23-11 straight up, 15-16 against the spread) team to Washington DC never made it off the ground this past Wednesday. There was some discussion whether or not the Wolverines would even reschedule a flight, but they did and arrived with barely enough time -- and without their regular uniforms -- to prepare for their Thursday game against Illinois.

John Beilein's boys showed no signs of being rattled in a 75-55 whipping of the Illini as 5 point chalk on the NCAA basketball odds, and they followed that up by taking down top-seeded Purdue in overtime on Friday as underdogs. Michigan kept it going Saturday with an 84-77 decision over Minnesota, the 4th-straight cover and ninth victory in the last 11 games.

Wisconsin (25-8 SU, 15-15 ATS) got the first two rounds off after scuffling late in the regular season with five setbacks in the final seven contests. That swoon appears well behind the Badgers after two solid performances that reminded us of traditional Wisconsin basketball. Greg Gard's group first strangled the high-scoring Indiana Hoosiers, then suffocated the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday to reach the title tilt.


Championship Sets Up Rubber Match For Rivals

The Badgers and Wolverines have met 163 times before, but Sunday marks their first clash in the BIG Championship. The sides split their two regular season matchups, each winning at home and Michigan covering both contests. The mid-February win in Ann Arbor left the Maize & Blue with a 92-71 advantage in the series, and the cover on a -2 line gave Wolverine backers their fourth winning ticket in the last five encounters. Both battles this year stayed 'under' the total to run the string of low-side winners to three in a row, and 13 of the last 19.

It's difficult not to get caught up in this magical week for the Wolverines. It's also tough to ignore how well Wisconsin has played its last two games. I'm going with the magic over the defense with my free college basketball pick.

Free NCAAB Pick: Michigan +1½ (-105) Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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