Wisconsin, Kentucky ‘under’ is the NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, April 4, 2015 3:25 PM GMT

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Saturday.

 



Some people are calling the later Final Four matchup in the NCAA Tournament Saturday night the “Game of the Year” and we think that the two defenses will dictate the play when the Wisconsin Badgers (35-3, 20-2 away/neutral) take on the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats (38-0, 19-0 away/neutral) in a battle of one-seeds from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN at 8:49 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 131½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -106.


Tougher Matchup for Kentucky than Potential Final?
This is a Final Four rematch from last season when Kentucky nipped the Badgers 74-73, and more than a few experts feel that Wisconsin poses a bigger threat to the Wildcats’ dreams of becoming undefeated national champions than whoever the Cats would draw in the National Championship Game should they get past this contest.

Wisconsin has been the winning NCAA Basketball pick by exactly seven points in each of the last three games, but those wins have come vs. excellent competition in Oregon, North Carolina and Arizona in that order after disposing of outclassed Coastal Carolina 86-72 in the Round of 64. The Badgers are now on a 10-game winning streak since suffering just their third loss of the season on the road at Maryland.


Best Defense in the Country
While we are not certain that Wisconsin is the only remaining team that can beat Kentucky, one thing that cannot be disputed is that the Wildcats have the best defense in the country and this should be a relatively low-scoring affair. Kentucky leads the country in defensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage allowed at a mere 39.2 percent while ranking third in the land in fewest points against at 53.9 per game.

And that defense is fantastic at all points of the floor with the Wildcats leading the country in three-point defense at a miniscule 26.7 percent and ranking second in two-point defense at 38.8 percent, as being the tallest team in the country with an effective height of +6.9 according to the Pomeroy Ratings has certainly been a boon to the interior defense.

Sure the Wildcats received a scare in a 68-66 win over Notre Dame in the Elite Eight last Saturday night, but they did hold an Irish team that is second in the country on overall field goal percentage at 50.2 percent to 46.6 percent shooting. Comparatively, Wisconsin ranks 17th in field goal percentage at 48.2 percent, but over fewer attempts than most other teams.


One of Slowest Paces in the Land
Wisconsin is only allowing 57.8 points per game in its own right to rank 12th in the country while also ranking leading the country in offensive efficiency and ranking 16th in effective field goal percentage offensively at 55.0 percent. However, there are only six teams in the country that play at a slower pace than the Badgers, as they are 345th in the land in tempo rating, and that is yet another factor favoring the ‘under’ here.

Granted just about the only possible way to have a little success vs. the great Kentucky defense is to attack it in transition, but that obviously goes against Wisconsin’s nature as it is very methodical offensively and does not run very often, and do not expect Coach Bo Ryan to change anything in that regard with his 35-3 team.

Yes the Badgers have scored at least 72 points in all four games if this NCAA Tournament while averaging 80.5 points, but that has been due to brilliant shooting at 49.8 percent and not due to playing at a quicker pace than normal. They do not figure to come anywhere near that percentage vs. the Kentucky defense, so look for the Wisconsin scoring to stabilize in this contest.


Wildcats Go ‘under’ with Regularity
Finally, Kentucky has been an ‘under’ friendly team all season with its games averaging just 128.5 combined points overall, and the ‘under’ is also a stellar 15-3 in Kentucky’s last 18 non-conference games!

Look for that pattern to continue on the second Final Four matchup with Wisconsin and Kentucky staying ‘under’ on Saturday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Wisconsin, Kentucky ‘under’ 131½ (-106)