Nebraska Cornhuskers (16-8) at Wisconsin Badgers (10-12)
We took a hard-luck push last night when we backed the Clemson Tigers on the road against Georgia Tech. The game was a fantastic one that was back and forth all afternoon long. Clemson took a 72-70 lead on Marcquise Reed’s layup with just :27 seconds remaining.
The Yellowjackets missed their shot to tie the game up and with just :03 seconds left on the clock, Reed was at the line shooting the front end of a one and one to seal the game for Clemson. He missed the front end, and the Tigers held on for the 72-70 victory. Had he made even one of his free throws we would have managed to sneak out with the cover.
I am not going to say it’s a bad beat, this game was a tight one, but it would have been nice to steal the win. Today I will shift my focus to the Big 10 conference as the Nebraska Cornhuskers play against the Wisconsin Badgers.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers take their surprisingly good record on the road tonight as they travel to Madison to play the Badgers of Wisconsin. The Huskers find themselves squarely on the bubble for the NCAA tournament and could really use a big road win tonight in league play.
The Badgers are just trying to save face at this point as they have been putrid in Big 10 play and are likely to see their 19-year streak of NCAA tournaments come to an end this season. The Badgers are -4-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 131 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from the Kohl’s Center.
Not many people expected the Nebraska Cornhuskers to really compete this season in a loaded Big 10. But here they are at 7-4 in league play and firmly on the bubble for a trip to the Big Dance. The Huskers have played a fairly solid schedule this season but have mostly lost to the good teams they have played and taken care of business against the lesser squads.
They have decent wins against Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa, and Michigan. While beating Wisconsin tonight isn’t going to be a big marquee win for them the Huskers don’t have much room for error at this point, and a loss to a sub .500 team would be a nasty blemish on their record.
All four of the Huskers Big 10 losses have come on the road. Losses to Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State are the only losses they have had, and all of those teams are expected to be playing in March Madness. While winning in Madison is never an easy task, the Huskers can ill afford to drop this game tonight if they want to be seriously considered for an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.
If you read my daily picks you know just what I think about Wisconsin this year. They stink. This is the worst team they have had in Madison in over twenty years. The Badgers have the fourth-longest active streak of seasons making the NCAA tournament at 19 straight years, and baring an unbelievable finish to the season, or winning the Big 10 conference tournament, that streak will be coming to an end this year. It is a sad end to what was a historic run of success at Wisconsin.
The one place the Badgers have been somewhat serviceable has been at home in league play. The Badgers own wins over Penn State, Indiana, and Illinois at home this season. The only home game the Badgers have lost was against a very good Ohio State team in early December.
The fact the Badgers have six home games in conference play out of their last nine games makes me think that the Badgers should enjoy a decent finish to the season, but at this point, they would likely have to run the table to be seriously considered for the tournament.
When I saw this game on the schedule a week ago before the number came out I thought to myself, this might be a decent spot to back the Badgers at home as underdogs. The Badgers have lost five out of their last six games, with the one winning coming against Big 10 doormat Illinois, so I assumed they would be home dogs and thought I might back them if they were. Boy was I wrong!
Not only are the Badgers favorites, but people are backing them as fairly big favorites! This line opened up at Wisconsin -3.5-points and quickly got bet up to -4. I get it, Wisconsin is decent at home, but are you kidding me?
The Badgers shouldn’t be favored against any type of competitive team right now, I don’t care what floor they are playing on. This Nebraska team is very likely an NCAA tournament team, and I would be absolutely shocked if they go into Madison and get blown out by a bad and reeling Wisconsin team.
The Badgers always play very hard at home and have a lot of pride. But I just can’t pass up Nebraska getting that many points. I expect a close game, and if I had to pick a winner I would lean towards the Cornhuskers, but instead of taking a major stand, I will take the handful of points and back Nebraska +4-points tonight.