#5 Wisconsin Badgers (23-10) vs #12 Oregon Ducks (23-12)
NCAA Basketball: Friday, March 22nd, 2019 at 4:30 pm (SAP Center in San Jose, CA)
Line and Odds: Wisconsin Badgers -2 Over/Under: 117
March Madness Picks Oregon Ducks vs. Wisconsin Badgers
This is a spot that the Wisconsin Badgers have gotten used to over the past couple of decades. Wisconsin is making their 20th appearance in the NCAA tournament in the last 21 years. After missing the tournament last season, the Badgers are back as a #5 seed. In Greg Gard’s first two seasons as Wisconsin’s head coach, the Badgers went to the back-to-back Sweet Sixteens. They bounced back from last year’s 15-18 record with this season’s 23-10 overall mark and 14-6 conference record. Wisconsin finished 17th in the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball NET Rankings. Based on these rankings used by the Selection Committee, Wisconsin was properly seeded as a #5 seed. They earned their seed with a strong resume that included wins over Oklahoma, Iowa (twice), Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, and Ohio State. Bad losses against Western Kentucky and Indiana prevented the Badgers from being a 3 or 4 seed.
The biggest driver of the Badgers’ successful season has been forward Ethan Happ. Happ is one of only 2 Division I players (Ja Morant being the other) with 2 triple-dobules on the season. He averages 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Happ is 5th in the Big Ten in scoring, 3rd in rebounds, and 3rd in assists, leading the Badgers in all 3 categories. To some extent, the Badgers will go as far as Ethan Happ manages to take them.
Wisconsin is 38th in Division I basketball in adjusted offensive rating, scoring 113.2 points per 100 possessions. The Badgers shoot an effective field goal percentage of 51.5%, which ranks 151st in eFG%. They are 10th in turnover percentage, giving the ball away on just 12.8% of their offensive plays. Wisconsin’s offense rebounds 24.0% of the rebounds available to them, ranking 306th in offensive rebounding percentage.
Wisconsin is 5th in Division I basketball in adjusted defensive rating, allowing 84.86 points per 100 possessions. The Badgers rank 11th in effective field goal percentage defense, forcing opponents to shoot an eFG% of 44.8. They are 9th in 2-point percentage defense, allowing teams to shoot 43.7% from 2-point range. Wisconsin does a great job at preventing teams from getting to the free throw line. Their defense ranks 23rd in opponent’s free throws attempted per play. Overall, Wisconsin’s adjusted net rating of +28.34 (per 100 possessions) ranks 13th in the nation.
A compelling argument could be made that the Oregon Ducks are the hottest team in the country. A few weeks ago, it did not look like Oregon would even make the NCAA tournament. They were a middling team in the Pac-12 that seemed unable to recover from losing NBA Prospect Bol Bol early in the season. Heading into the last 2 weeks of the regular season, the Ducks were 15-12 with a 6-8 Pac-12 record. They closed the regular-season by beating Arizona, Arizona State, Washington State, and Washington. The Ducks entered the Pac-12 Tournament on a roll, and continued their stellar play throughout the tournament. They entered the tournament as a 6 seed and were forced to win 4 games in 4 nights to make it into the Big Dance. Oregon won the Pac-12 tournament championship by beating Washington State, Utah, Arizona State, and Washington. Dana Altman’s squad lifted the trophy because of quality defensive play.
In the Pac-12 championship game against the Washington Huskies, they shut the UW offense down. The Oregon Ducks beat the Washington Huskies 68-48, in Las Vegas. The Ducks held Washington to 33.3% shooting from the field and 21.7% from three point land. Washington attempted only 8 free throws in the entire game. No player on Washington’s team was able to score more than 8 points. It was a thorough decimation of the Huskies offense. Oregon’s offense was led by guard Payton Pritchard. He totaled 20 points on 9 shots, with 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. Pritchard was eventually named Most Valuable Player at the Pac-12 tournament, and he was a driving force in Oregon’s late season turnaround. Oregon will go deep in the NCAAs if Pritchard can continue to play at this high level.
Oregon is 80th in Division I basketball in adjusted offensive rating, scoring 109.13 points per 100 possessions. The Ducks shoot an effective field goal percentage of 51.7%, ranking 143rd in eFG%. They struggle to get easy points at the foul line, ranking 221st in free throws made per 100 possessions. Oregon is 20th in Division I basketball in adjusted defensive rating, allowing 89.76 points per 100 possessions. The Ducks are 28th in effective field goal percentage defense, forcing teams to shoot an eFG% of 46.8%. They are particularly good at defending the 3. Oregon allows teams to shoot just 29.4% from 3-point range, ranking 11th in the country. The Ducks defense ranks 12th in block percentage (14.6%) and 20th in steal percentage (11.7%). Overall, Oregon’s adjusted net rating of +19.37 (per 100 possessions) ranks 41st in the nation.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
Wisconsin is 2-7-1 ATS in its last 10 games
Wisconsin is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Wisconsin’s last 17 games
Oregon is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
Oregon is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Oregon’s last 8 games
March Madness Predictions Wisconsin Badgers vs. Oregon Ducks
I like the Wisconsin Badgers to cover the spread in this matchup. I certainly respect the momentum that the Oregon Ducks are carrying into this game. I successfully picked Oregon to cover against Washington State and Utah in earlier posts about the Pac-12 tournament. The oddsmakers’ perception of Oregon’s abilities has swung too far in the other direction. One reason I like Wisconsin here is that they are the more battle-tested team. They’ve faced a tougher schedule and they play in a stronger conference. Also, Wisconsin is better than Oregon on both ends of the floor. As well as Oregon has played defensively, the Badgers defense is statistically more impressive. Wisconsin is more efficient on the offensive end, executing on offense despite playing at a slow pace. Finally, Wisconsin has a more effective star player. I will put my money on Ethan Happ over Payton Pritchard. Take Wisconsin and give the points.
Wisconsin Badgers -2