Oregon Ducks vs. Wisconsin Badgers Pick
Oregon Ducks (23-12 SU, 20-15 ATS) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (23-10 SU, 16-16-1 ATS)
When: Friday, March 22nd, 2019 – 4:30 p.m. ET
Where: SAP Center, San Jose, California
By: Matt Lowry, College Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ORE +2 / WISC -2 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 116.5
Last Time Out: Oregon beat Washington 68-48 in the Pac 12 Championship; Wisconsin lost to Michigan State 67-55 in the Big Ten Semifinals
Scouting the Ducks:
The Ducks were an afterthought to make the tournament given some of their horrible losses this season. Also, the fact that they played in a terrible Pac-12 conference. However, the Ducks got red hot near the end of February and carried their momentum into their conference tournament, winning three games in three days to clinch the Pac-12 title. Now seeded on the 12 line, the Ducks are a very popular upset pick, but it remains to be seen if they can continue playing at the level they did in Vegas last week.
Scouting the Badgers:
The Badgers are a team that loves to slow things down. They should matchup well with Oregon because both teams are relatively low scoring teams and defend very well. Also, they have a guy like Ethan Happ, who is a monster in the low post, and with Bol Bol being sidelined for Oregon they will not have an answer for the big man. It feels like the Badgers were over-seeded this year, and because of that they are forced to go up against one of the hottest team in the field.
Head to Head:
These teams have met twice since 2014. The Badgers won both meetings and won by an average margin of 7.5-points. It should be noted that both meetings came in the round of 32 of this tournament, so Wisconsin has had the Ducks number when specifically talking about March Madness.
Notable Betting Trends:
The first thing that stands out is how each team fares when the spread is set as low as it is. The Ducks are 2-2 as a dog when the point spread is set between 1-2.5. Whereas, Wisconsin has had success as a small favorite, going 3-1. However, most recently Oregon has managed to cover in 8 straight games, making their against the spread record 8-2 in their last 10 overall. Wisconsin has struggled against the number, going 2-7-1 in their last 10 and 0-2 in their last 2.
Oregon will Cover if:
Payton Pritchard plays like he did in Vegas. Pritchard quietly led the Ducks all year in scoring, averaging about 12.7 points per game. This number is slightly down from last season when he averaged 14.5. The Pac-12 was not talked about much this season because one, it is on the West Coast and their name isn’t Duke, so most people do not stay up late enough to watch their games and two, besides maybe Washington, the Pac-12 was probably the weakest conference out of the Power 5. The Ducks started getting hot towards the end of the February, finishing as the 6th-seed in the conference. Then in Las Vegas, where the Pac-12 tournament was held, the Ducks and especially Pritchard started to look like a top-25 team. Starting with Washington State, the Ducks dismantled them 84-51. Pritchard had just 7 points, but in the second-round game against Utah, he had 20 points and shot 8 of 16. Next up was Arizona State where Pritchard scored 18 points on 8 of 17 shooting. Finally, was the championship game against top seeded Washington. Peyton scored 20 again and shot 7 of 9 from the field. So, you see why Pritchard is such a big deal to this Oregon team. Unless he goes cold, the Ducks will be in a great position to not only cover, but to win this game outright.
Wisconsin will Cover if:
They improve their three-point shooting. It is no surprise that overall this season the Badgers have struggled to score the ball. Besides their inside presence with Ethan Happ, they do not have the ability to go back and forth with a team making jumper after jumper. Especially with how they shot the long ball in their last game against the Spartans. The Badgers were 2 of 19 from deep in this game, hence why they lost by 12 and only put up 55 points in the entire game. D’Mitrik Trice has been the best three-point shooter for the Badgers but went 1 of 6 in that game against the Spartans. For Wisconsin to knock off the upset minded Ducks, someone will have to step up and consistently knock down the three to take all the pressure off Ethan Happ.
Matt’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
This is a very hard game to predict, given how similar these teams are to one another. MyBookie has the Badgers as a 2-point favorite, but because of how well the Ducks have played over the last two weeks, they are my pick to win this game and cover. As the great Bill Walton would say, “Quack Quack.” Take the Ducks and the points.
Matt’s College Basketball Pick: Oregon Ducks +2
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