Beilein's bunch hopes to stand up to Badgers

Beilein's bunch hopes to challenge Badgers

As the Big Ten schedule ramps up, certain teams are already separating themselves from the rest of the pack. Will Wisconsin or Michigan rise to the occasion tonight?

The two programs face off in Madison at 9 p.m. ET. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the Badgers odds of -670 to take care of business at home. Conversely, John Beilein’s crew enters the Kohl Center as a +435 underdog.

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No. 17 Wisconsin has been idle since an 89-66 throttling of Ohio State on Jan. 12. While usual suspects like Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes went wild on the offensive end, Greg Gard’s bench also came through big vs. the Buckeyes. The Badgers’ reserves poured in 31 points on 12-of-27 shooting. In all, 15 different individuals received minutes that evening.

The Wolverines, though, figure to lean primarily on three players in a few hours. Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton Jr. and Moritz Wagner combine to average 38.8 points per game. Wagner was particularly effective over the weekend, registering 23 in a 91-85 triumph against Nebraska.

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Trying to steal one in Cheesehead territory obviously won’t be easy, but we advise looking closely at the visiting group in this instance. No Division I squad commits fewer turnovers than Michigan, and that ability to protect the ball could tip the balance down the stretch. In any event, Beilein’s troops are too seasoned to get steamrolled by double digits.

TUESDAY NCAA FREE PICK: MICHIGAN +11

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