Ohio State Vs. Wisconsin: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets (3/8/23) – NCAAB

As the regular season of College Basketball has finally concluded, conference tournaments are set to begin this week.  In the Big Ten Tournament, Ohio State and Wisconsin are set to face off in the First Round on Wednesday.  The winner of this matchup will have a date with Iowa the following day in the Second Round.  Let’s jump into this game’s picks and predictions:

Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Predictions

The Badgers and the Buckeyes did not foresee themselves being on the bottom of the Big Ten totem pole entering this season, but alas this is where they find themselves.  Out of the 14 Big Ten teams, Ohio State comes into this game as the 13th seed.  The Badgers are right above them as the 12th seed.  Ohio State finished with an abysmal 5-15 conference record despite being ranked earlier in the season.  The hardest stretch for the Buckeyes resulted in losing 14 out of 15 games earlier in conference play.  Their overall record is 13-18 and their tournament chances are all but dead, unless they find a way to win the Big Ten Tournament.  

Despite the difficult season, they did end with a little bit of momentum.  They found a 9-game losing streak broken, when they were able to impressively win back-to-back against Illinois and Maryland.  Two teams that will be in the NCAA Tournament.  This team is very talented and just never was ever able to find a way to win in close games.  If they are able to build upon those two wins that certainly helped this team in confidence, Ohio State certainly could go on a run in this tournament.  Many questions loom over head coach Chris Holtmann, on whether he will remain the Buckeyes head coach after this poor season.  A successful conference tournament could certainly help silence some doubts.

Wisconsin is in deep need for this win to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.  They finished with a 9-11 conference record and an overall 17-13 record.  Joe Lunardi currently has the Badgers as one of the first four teams out of his projected bracket.  Losing in the first round would certainly shut the door on any tournament hopes, but getting this win could be what they need to hear their name on Selection Sunday.

The Badgers started the season strong and were in the AP Top 25, but struggled in conference play.  They played in many close games, but often struggled to close out.  Five of their conference losses were decided by four points or fewer.  They also played in three overtime games in the conference, losing two of them.  Although being a very stout defensive team, their biggest struggles came on the offensive side.  They never had a true identity of a go-to guy late in close games.  Their leading scorer is Chucky Hepburn with just a 12.7 PPG average.  They were great at keeping teams under 70 PPG.  They averaged only 63.8 points allowed for opposing teams. Wisconsin’s best hopes would be to win this game on the defensive side early.

Ohio State Vs. Wisconsin: Ohio State ML

For that previous statement, the best bet would be Ohio State.  Wisconsin needs to win this early, but Ohio State is the team to go with if it’s a close one down the stretch.  They have go-to guys like Brice Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing.  Both of which have been playing great in recent games.  Bruce Thornton has also been playing great for the Buckeyes.  He managed to put up 20 points in the win against Illinois.  Big man Zed Key of Ohio State may be able to slow down Forwards Steven Crowl and Grant Wahl.  The Buckeyes average 73.1 PPG with the Badgers only averaging around 69.4.  

Earlier in the season, Wisconsin came out victorious against the Buckeyes when they played.  The Badgers won due specifically to the reasons stated.  They were able to get off to an early big lead and despite a late-Buckeye run, finished the game off with a 65-60.  Wisconsin was able to get off to an early 16-point lead and head coach Chris Holtmann was ejected for OSU.  The Buckeyes have shown themselves more poised as of late, which will be crucial for not letting them get down early.  Expect a close game, but the scorers of Ohio State find a way to advance.

Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Betting Odds

Betting lines are not out yet, but expect lines to be close.  Wisconsin does have the record-advantage, but should they be the favorites?  ESPN Analytics currently gives Ohio State a 60.6% chance to win this matchup.  In Kenpom’s analytical rankings, Ohio State comes in ranked 57th, while the Badgers trail them at 73rd.  An important seeding statistic as well, the 13 seed has won over the 12 seed in four out of seven Big Ten Tournament games.  Whoever comes out the favorite, expect a very tight spread line.

Key Matchup

Brice Sensabaugh vs. Wisconsin

Even with Ohio State’s season struggles, freshman guard Brice Sensabaugh has been a star all season.  Sensabaugh is a potential first-round draft pick and certified bucket getter.  He is averaging 16.5 PPG and has been consistent throughout the season.  He is the type of guy that gives Ohio State an advantage over Wisconsin late in a game since the Badgers don’t have a guy that can necessarily match him shot for shot.  If Sensabaugh has shots falling throughout the game, expect Ohio State to move on to play Iowa. 

Jack is a Hoosier by birth and Hoosier by alum. Full of hot takes but sharper predictions. Residing now in the Chicago area. When he's not chowing down on deep dish pizza and Italian beef, he's watching and betting sports. Junkie for everything CBB, NBA, NFL, CFB, and MLB. Here to feed you a system to follow that might even be better than the one Tom Brady was gifted his whole career.

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