NCAA Basketball Picks: Maryland Will Outshine Wisconsin Tonight

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, February 13, 2016 2:38 PM GMT

Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016 2:38 PM GMT

Big Ten Action is featured as the Wisconsin Badgers travel to Maryland to take on the No. 2 team in the nation. Let's peruse the NCAA basketball odds and determine which side to back.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland -9 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Wisconsin Badgers (15-9 SU, 12-11 ATS)
After dropping three straight the Badgers have come alive and it began with a 77-76 upset victory over then-fourth ranked Michigan State that sent Wisconsin fans into a frenzy. Since then the Badgers have won and covered five straight, claiming Nebraska as their latest victim in a decisive 72-61 victory on Wednesday night. The NCAA basketball odds makers installed Wisconsin as 7½ point home chalk and they did not disappoint with their 11-point margin of victory. Junior forward Nigel Hayes led the charge with 20 points but it was a career high 18 points from Vitto Brown that sealed the deal for Wisconsin. Brown hit all three of his three-pointers and the Badgers were on point from beyond the arc all night connecting on 11-of-18 to keep the Cornhuskers at bay.

Wisconsin had been poison for all those who had included them in their NCAA basketball picks up until this recent run but have been a veritable ATM since. If you are inclined to bet the Badgers on the money line here is a stat you should consider. The Badgers have won 31 consecutive games when scoring 70 or more points in a game. Offensively the team is averaging just a whisker under that magic number with 69.7 PPG but they have been amongst the best defensively allowing just 64.8 PPG which ranks them 30th in the nation in that category.

 

Maryland Terrapins (22-3 SU, 11-11 ATS)
The Terps are looking for their sixth consecutive win but an even more impressive 28th straight home victory. There may be no greater home court advantage than the one the Terrapins enjoy at the Xfinity Center Arena. Even the seating is designed to give Maryland students an imposing presence whenever visitors come calling. Maryland is a perfect 14-0 straight up at home this season but a disappointing 6-7 against the spread.

In their last contest the Terps outclassed little D-2 Bowie State in a game that the oddsmakers decided not to hang a number on. When the buzzer sounded it was Maryland putting the hammer down with a 93-62 victory. Perhaps the biggest benefit from that game, besides the victory, was the ability for head coach Mark Turgeon to play all the kids who don't normally sniff a whiff of playing time. Backup center Michal Cekovsky scored a career high 14 points and Maryland finished with a 39-27 rebounding advantage as well as a 31-point margin of victory.

 

Betting Analysis
These Big Ten rivals met earlier this season with Maryland escaping with a 63-60 win as sophomore guard Melo Trimble drilled a three-pointer with barely over a second left in the game to capture the victory. As we see these teams converge again, it is a surging Wisconsin team versus a Maryland crew that may just be playing its best basketball of the season and will have plenty of well rested starters from the game with Bowie State in which the primary players barely broke a sweat.

The key to this game is, that as well as Wisconsin plays defense the Terps play it even better. Maryland's defense is ranked 19th in the nation and they also know how to score which is something the Badgers have had trouble doing at times this season. And in addition Wisconsin's previous meeting in Maryland just over a year ago was a disaster as the Badgers entered as 5 ½ point road favorites but were upset by the score of 59-53. This Maryland edition has far more scoring punch than last season's and I believe the Terps rebounding edge as well as their depth will ultimately allow them to cover the rather large number here.

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