The Baylor Bears meet the Wisconsin Badgers in the West Regional semifinals on Thursday. The game will take place at Honda Center in Anaheim, California with the opening tip scheduled for 7:45 PM ET. According to NCAA basketball odds Wisconsin is a 3.5 point favorite and the posted total is 136.5.
No More Home Cooking
The Wisconsin Badgers had the luxury of playing their first two NCAA Tournament games just 90-miles from their campus. The contests took place at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and it was a sea of Badgers red at that venue. The Badgers took advantage of the friendly confines by blowing out American 75-35 in their 2nd round game, and then mounting a furious 2nd half rally to defeat Oregon 85-77 in the 3rd round. The Oregon game was far from easy as Wisconsin trailed at the end of the 1st half 49-37. The Badgers were a totally different team in the 2nd half outscoring the Ducks 48-28, and punched their ticket to the “Sweet 16”. It’s been well documented that this is Bo Ryan’s most athletic and best offensive team in his lengthy tenure as the head coach at Wisconsin.
a Bear to Play Against
Baylor is by far playing their best basketball of the season at the most opportune time. They not only won their first two NCAA Tournament games in convincing fashion, but the Bears were very good down the stretch of the season. Baylor is 8-1 in their last 9-games, and 12-2 in the last 14. Their only loss in their last 9 contests came in the Big 12 Tournament Final versus Iowa State. Baylor dominated their first two NCAA Tournament opponents defeating Nebraska 74-60, and then embarrassed the #2 seed in the West by hammering Creighton 85-55. They held a huge 69-47 combined rebounding edge in those two wins. The Bears have shot 50% or better from the field in 4 of their last 7-games.
Both Teams are Three-Point Shooting Aces
The Baylor Bears are converting on an excellent 39.2% of their three-point attempts this season. They’re even better than that on the road or on a neutral court. When playing away from Waco, Texas the Bears are shooting a sizzling 41.9% from beyond the three-point line.
The Wisconsin Badgers aren’t nearly as efficient from beyond the arc as their upcoming opponent. However, they’re very good in their own right making 37.6% of their long distance tries.
Any neutral court pick or favorite (Wisconsin) that’s committed 11 turnovers or less in each of their previous 2-games, versus an opponent (Baylor) that committed 8 turnovers or less in their previous game, has gone 97-54 ATS (64.2%) over the last 17 seasons.
NCAA Tournament Pick: Wisconsin -3.5 over Baylor