As Big Ten play rolls on in the midst of January, the Wisconsin Badgers head to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers in a matchup between two historical conference heavyweights. Wisconsin enters this game ranked 18th in the country, but they have lost two games in a row to Illinois and Michigan State. A win against Indiana could certainly help them from falling out of the rankings as they currently stand against 11-4. It will not be an easy win however as this game is on the road, and the Hoosiers are just as desperate for a win if not more.
Indiana started this season ranked in the top-15 and a favorite to win the Big Ten and it has been anything but that to start the conference season. They have lost three Big Ten games in a row and are suffering a lot of inner turmoil, especially injuries to two of their best players in Race Thompson and Xavier Johnson. After a near 20-point loss to Penn State, this team is in desperate need to get things back on track as the Hoosier nation is coming down on this team with much disappointment. A game against ranked Wisconsin will surely not be an easy win, but playing at home should be helpful. Let’s jump into this game’s picks and predictions.
Wisconsin vs. Indiana Betting Odds
There are no odds out just yet for this game but expect this line to be placed close as both of these teams are on current losing streaks. Indiana may be the projected winner in this game as this is a home game for them and Assembly Hall is a notorious tough place to play in the Big Ten. Don’t expect the spread line to be super big, I would estimate around -2.5 or maybe less. This game will be a nail biter and both of these teams have the talent to get back to their potential. Wisconsin is led by their defensive prowess while Indiana is led by their big man and preseason all-american Trayce Jackson-Davis who needs to continue playing well, but it’s up to Indiana’s other players to get going offensively. Wisconsin has won 24 of the past 27 matchups against the Hoosiers is another thing to keep in mind even if this is a road game. ESPN Analytics does give the Hoosiers a 79.4% chance to win this game. According to Kenpom’s analytical rankings, Indiana currently ranks 33rd with Wisconsin ranking at 56th. When it comes to Big Ten play though, you can throw numbers out the door.
There is no over/under total just yet but we can project on both teams scoring averages. Wisconsin averages 68.3 PPG while holding teams to just 62.9 on average. Indiana on the other hand, averages 79.9 PPG while holding teams to around 69.3. I could assume this line to be placed around 125 to 135 based on those scoring averages.
Wisconsin vs. Indiana Picks & Predictions
My Pick: Indiana ML
It goes against my better judgment, especially with Wisconsin’s track record against Indiana but I do think Indiana is able to bounce back with a win against home. Wisconsin started off the year hot, but I don’t think their team is as strong offensively as they have been in past seasons. Their leading scorer is Tyler Wahl who is averaging just 13.2 PPG. Trayce Jackson-Davis averages 17.4 PPG and Jalen Hood-Schifino also averages 13.2 PPG for the Hoosiers but they really need more production from the rest of the team to get the win in this one. Their next leading scorer averages only 9.3 PPG in Tamar Bates who comes off the bench. Forward Miller Kopp is a starter and was brought in to be a shooter for this team and needs to start proving that. He averages just 8.8 PPG and if he can unlock his shot more, it would be hard for the Badgers to keep up. Wisconsin hasn’t had the toughest schedule yet and has struggled against more talented Big Ten teams and could have that issue again if the Hoosiers play up to full potential.
I’m not sure what I would take in terms of over/under line as I see this game falling right around the 130 line. I think it comes down to who controls the tempo and if Indiana controls it and the line is low enough, the over could be a good play.
Trayce Jackson-Davis vs. Wisconsin
Like I said early, Indiana needs to rely more on just Trayce in this game but it is vital that he does his part at least for this team to just have a chance. He has been struggling with back stiffness but it hasn’t slowed down his production. He was able to score 30 points in their loss to Iowa and was close to his second triple-double on the season in their loss to Northwestern. He grabbed 24 rebounds in that matchup. He needs to continue playing his best game and hopefully can start getting other Hoosiers involved and their confidence up.