NCAA Basketball Picks: Sharp 'Under' Betting in Tonight's Wisconsin vs. Indiana Big Ten Game

Willie Bee

Tuesday, January 5, 2016 5:19 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 5:19 PM UTC

Favored on the NCAA basketball odds boards, the Indiana Hoosiers aim for a third straight Big Ten win on Tuesday when they host the Wisconsin Badgers at Assembly Hall.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 142½
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


It has been a long time since a college basketball team went through a season undefeated, 40 years to be exact. Kentucky almost did it a year ago, but came up just short of equaling the mark set by the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers when I was still a young man in his early-20s.

This point is not being brought up so that yours truly can wax nostalgic about an era gone by, a time of bicentennial celebrations, Peter Frampton's huge live album, Apple Computer's birth and certainly long before Bobby Knight's antics started to wear thin in Bloomington. Instead, the mention is because Indiana plans to honor that '76 Hoosiers team at halftime of Tuesday's Big Ten matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers.

Neither of these teams will be duplicating what the 1975-76 Hoosiers did as they hit the court at Assembly Hall for a 7 PM (ET) broadcast on ESPN. Indiana already has three losses, Wisconsin twice that many, and just playing deep into the conference tourney and getting to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is a big enough goal for either team at this moment.

Speaking of this moment, the Hoosiers are currently favored on SBR's NCAA basketball odds, betting Indiana requiring giving up 7½ points at 5Dimes. Scoreboard players are looking at 142½ for the total.


Badgers Gaining On Hoosiers in Series Rivalry
The Hoosiers and Badgers have been going at it for about 110 years now, and winning results have been far more frequent for the Cream & Crimson. Indiana owns a 95-69 advantage in the rivalry, and once ran off a string of 31 consecutive victories over Wisconsin from 1980-96.

But while the Cream & Crimson have the better record all-time against the Badgers, the Crean-led Crimson have struggled against UDub. The Hoosiers lost the first nine times head coach Tom Crean faced Wisconsin, and the Badgers have won 22 of the last 31 meetings, including the only matchup last season.

Last year's only meeting took place in Madison where the Badgers pasted a 92-78 decision on the Hoosiers. The final margin was just enough for Indiana backers to cover a +16 spread; the Hoosiers' last win came just about two years ago at Assembly Hall, a mild 75-72 upset as 3½ home 'dogs on the NCAA basketball odds.


Wisconsin Hoping To Avoid 2nd Early Conference Loss
Count me among those still puzzled by Bo Ryan's surprising and immediate retirement from Wisconsin (9-6 straight up, 5-10 against the spread) several weeks ago. Ryan certainly earned the right to step down whenever he pleased, but it's still a shock for him to do it during a season.

The Badgers have won two of three under interim head coach Greg Gard, the loss coming in the team's Big Ten opener at home against Purdue a week ago. That Wisconsin was a 5 point home underdog to the Boilermakers should provide a very good indication of just how much weaker this year's team is than the last two that lost in consecutive NCAA Championships.

Indiana (12-3 SU, 8-7 ATS), meanwhile, has begun the league slate 2-0 behind road victories over Rutgers and Nebraska. The Hoosiers have a 7-game win streak entering this matchup, their most recent loss a whipping at the hands of Duke more than a month ago.

Crean's crew managed to win those games without talented sophomore James Blackmon Jr. in the lineup. The 6-4 guard, second on the team averaging nearly 16 points a game, is nursing a knee injury and officially listed as doubtful for Tuesday's tilt with the Badgers.

My last three free NCAA basketball picks have been 'under' plays, and all three failed. I'm a very stubborn old man, however, and will go right back to the same well for tonight's game.

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