#9 Wisconsin vs Rutgers

#9 Wisconsin vs Rutgers | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on January 14, 2021

At one point, Rutgers was ranked 14th in the nation, but the Scarlet Knights enter Friday’s Big Ten home game vs. No. 8 Wisconsin having lost three in a four and four of five. They still likely will open as short favorites on the NCAAB odds against the Badgers, who come off a terrible loss.

How to Bet Wisconsin at Rutgers NCAA Basketball Odds & TV InfoLast Meeting

The schools played twice last season and each won at home. The one at Rutgers was a 72-65 decision for the Scarlet Knights. Geo Baker, who is still at Rutgers, had 22 points on 9-for-18 shooting. Rutgers outrebounded Wisconsin 40-26 and 14-3 on the offensive glass, leading to a 23-5 advantage in second-chance points. “I thought they were more physical, and we didn’t respond to it well,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “We missed some block-outs, but there were other times when they just flat-out took it from us.”

Why Bet on Wisconsin? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Badgers (10-3) were totally outclassed Tuesday in a 77-54 loss at No. 7 Michigan. Wisconsin shot 30.8 percent from the field and turned the ball over 10 times in the most lopsided loss of Wisconsin’s season. For a stretch that started in the first half and carried well into the second half, Michigan dominated the game with a 41-6 run.

It marked the Badgers first top 10 matchup of the season and Wisconsin’s first game against one of the other three tams considered to be in the top four of the Big Ten.

“Got way out of character at the end of that first half and even into the second half with what we were doing to offensively,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said. “It led to bad defense and obviously they’ve done that to a lot of teams. They get a little spark and it turns into an avalanche.”

Wisconsin struggled mightily against the length of Michigan. Three of the first eight shot attempts by the badgers were blocked, and at the seven-minute mark the Badgers had fewer two-point makes than Michigan had blocked shots.

In the Badgers 13 games this year, they’ve been losing or tied after the “first quarter” (i.e. 10 minute mark) in five games. Their record in those five games is 2-3.

It was Gard’s 100th Big Ten game as UW coach. He is 63-34 all-time and his winning percentage ranks him sixth among Big Ten coaches of the last 40 years (since 1980).  Wisconsin is renowned for its home success, but the Badgers have been good on the road recently. Since Gard took over as head coach, the Badgers are 1 of just 4 Big Ten teams with 24+ true road wins.

Senior guard D’Mitrik Trice continued his hot offensive stretch, leading the way with a team-high 20 points for the Badgers but it wasn’t close to enough.

Why Bet on Rutgers? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Rutgers (7-4) lost its third in a row Saturday, 79-68 at home vs. Ohio State. The Buckeyes used a 22-4 burst to take a 42-30 lead at halftime. Ohio State started the second half strong, too, expanding its lead to 52-32 with 15:56 left. The Scarlet Knights got no closer than eight points down the stretch. The Buckeyes shot 51%, including 42% from 3-point range.

“The season we had the beginning of the season is going to come back,” Rutgers’ Jacob Young said of the recent slump. “We just need help right now. We’re in a bit of a slump now. We’re going to come together. We’re going to talk it over. We got a little time to talk over it now, like a week. When we come back, we’ll come back ready.”

Young scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half in the Knights’ second home loss of the season. He has scored double-digits in 10 straight games. Caleb McConnell (12) and Ron Harper Jr. (11) joined Young in double figures. Harper Jr. was named to the Midseason Top 25 Watch List for the John R. Wooden Award on Wednesday night. From long-range, he leads the Big Ten with 3.22 three-pointers per game and is second in the conference in three-point percentage at 46.8 percent.

Geo Baker passed John Somogyi to move into 30th place on Rutgers all-time scoring list.  Baker played in his 100th career game and has scored 1,111 points as a Scarlet Knight. Playing in his third game of the season after missing the first eight contests with a back injury, Caleb McConnell scored a season-high 12 points. It marked the first time he scored in double figures since Feb. 1, 2020 against Michigan at Madison Square Garden.

Expert Prediction
  • Rutgers 69, Wisconsin 68
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