Wisconsin (9-7, 2-1) at Rutgers (10-6, 0-3)
When: Friday, January 5th 2018
Where: Rutgers Athletic Center, Piscataway, NJ
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN2
Opening Odds: Wisconsin -1.5/125
Two teams heading in opposite directions meet on Friday night in a Big Ten battle as the struggling Rutgers Scarlet Knights host the red-hot Wisconsin Badgers in Piscataway, New Jersey. The Badgers are seeking their sixth straight victory when they visit a Scarlet Knights squad who hopes to avoid their longest losing streak of the season. Wisconsin was sitting three games below .500 (4-7) for the first time since the start of the 2001-02 season following a blowout loss to Marquette on December 9th, but the Badgers have rallied to win five straight, the last of which came in a 71-61 home victory over Indiana on Tuesday. After struggling in the early going, Wisconsin’s best player, Ethan Happ, is back to being one of the best in the conference, averaging 19 points per game on 66% shooting during the team’s winning streak. Rutgers raced out to a 6-0 start and handed No. 21 Seton Hall one of its two losses to improve to 10-3 in the middle of December, but second-year coach Steve Pikiell’s team followed that resume-building win by getting beat at home by Stony Brook and Hartford. The Scarlet Knights have lost all three of their conference games by double-digits, including a 82-51 loss at No. 12 Purdue on Wednesday. Rutgers has a lot of issues right now, one of them being foul shooting, where they are a dismal 29-for-57 during their losing streak.
Happ poured in a season-high 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting Wednesday for the shorthanded Badgers, who learned about 90 minutes before tipoff they would be without starting guard Brevin Pritzl due to a head injury. Pritzl joins a list of Badgers on the injury list including D’Mitrik Trice (foot), Kobe King (knee; out for the season), while freshman Brad Davison (11.9 points), who has scored at least 14 points in five of his last six outings, is playing through a shoulder injury. Freshman forward Aleem Ford (6.6) has seen his playing time spike with all of the injury-plagued backcourt and is averaging 11 points per game while shooting 14-for-21 from 3-point land over the last five games.
The Scarlet Knights were -16 in rebounding margin during their losses to Stony Brook and Hartford before getting pounded 45-27 on the glass during Wednesday’s rout in West Lafayette. Freshman guard Geo Baker had 11 points and was one of two Scarlet Knights to reach double figures, while Mamadou Doucoure chipped in eight points in nine minutes before fouling out. Deshawn Freeman (11.6 points, 8.2 rebounds) scored nine points, but managed only two rebounds versus Purdue, but the senior forward collected a season-high four steals for the second straight game and ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 1.6 per contest.
I know its a road game, but Wisconsin, despite being shorthanded, should be able to handle this Rutgers squad. Happ is starting to play like he’s supposed to and he will lead the Badgers to victory.
Pick: Wisconsin -1.5
- Badgers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 Friday games.
- Badgers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games following three or more consecutive home games.
- Badgers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Badgers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. Big Ten.
- Badgers are 3-7-2 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Badgers are 3-8-2 ATS in their last 13 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Badgers are 1-3-2 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win.
- Badgers are 3-9-2 ATS in their last 14 road games.
- Badgers are 3-9-2 ATS in their last 14 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Badgers are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Scarlet Knights are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
- Scarlet Knights are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games.
- Scarlet Knights are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Scarlet Knights are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS loss.
- Scarlet Knights are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Friday games.
- Scarlet Knights are 17-38 ATS in their last 55 vs. Big Ten.
- Scarlet Knights are 16-37 ATS in their last 53 games following a straight up loss.
- Under is 4-0 in Badgers last 4 road games.
- Under is 4-0 in Badgers last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Under is 4-0 in Badgers last 4 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Under is 6-1 in Badgers last 7 Friday games.
- Under is 7-2 in Badgers last 9 road games following three or more consecutive home games.
- Under is 5-2-1 in Badgers last 8 vs. Big Ten.
- Under is 20-9-1 in Badgers last 30 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 9-3 in Scarlet Knights last 12 games following a straight up loss of more than 20 points.
- Under is 5-2 in Scarlet Knights last 7 home games.
- Under is 10-4 in Scarlet Knights last 14 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 19-9 in Scarlet Knights last 28 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Home team is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.