Badgers At Michigan Tonight, Is A 3 Seed At Stake?

The Badgers are running out of opportunities to grab an impressive or even solid road win.  The Badgers have beaten great teams like Ohio State and Purdue at home but that is almost expected at this point when the Badgers play at the Kohl Center.  What they lack are many or any, good road wins over tournament teams.  The Badgers have road wins over Northwestern and Iowa, both teams will be on the outside looking in come tournament time.  The Badgers do have a win at Marquette but I am not sure if that will be considered much of a road game in the committee’s eyes since it is a hour long bus trip.  There are three road games left, tonight at Michigan, at Indiana and the season finale at Ohio State.  Tonight is the best opportunity to get a quality win on the road since the Indiana game will not be considered quality and the Ohio State game will be a tough game to win to say the least.

Without at least one more quality road win I could see the Badgers falling down in NCAA seeding, possibly down to a five seed.  The committee weighs road and neutral court games differently and the Badgers have had plenty of chances to get a quality road win and failed.  Losses against UNLV, Michigan State, Illinois, Notre Dame and Purdue were all lost opportunities to beat a NCAA tournament team on the road or a neutral court.  Since we can admit winning at Ohio State will be challenging, tonight is the best shot to get another quality road win that would give the committee one less excuse for knocking the Badgers down a line or two in the seeding.

The Badgers beat Michigan 66-50 on January 5th at the Kohl Center.  In that game the Badgers had a better effective field goal%, won the rebound margin, won the turnover battle and got to the free throw line at a better rate.  In other words, it was an all-around solid win for the Badgers.  Michigan has been heating up of late winning four of their last five, and six of their last eight.  But the best wins out of those six were against Michigan State when they were really struggling and Penn State.  The other wins were over Iowa twice, Northwestern and Indiana.  Not exactly a murderers row.

The Badgers are favored by four tonight with an over/under of 121.5.

Badger Advantages

  • Effective Field Goal Defense 46.7% to 49.5%
  • Turnover Rate Offense 13.7% to 17%
  • Offensive Rebound Rate 35.1% to 26.6%
  • Three Point% 37.9 to 34.8
  • Free Throw% 82.6 to 69.4

Michigan Advantages

  • Turnover Rate Defense 19.4% to 17.3%
  • Two Point Shooting% 51.8 to 49.7%
  • Three Point% Defense 32.5% to 34.7%

My Pick

I think the Badgers have some advantages that should work in their favor, specifically on the boards and free throw shooting.  I also think Wisconsin will be ready to play tonight.  They are coming off a loss at Purdue and an uninspiring, go through the motions win on Sunday over Penn State.  It could be argued that Wisconsin has not played a good game since the Ohio State win.  I feel Wisconsin will play very well tonight and get a much needed quality road win. 

Badgers win, 67-62.

Tags: Badgers NCAA TOurnament Seed Michigan Wolverines Wisconsin Badgers Basketball

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