Wisconsin Badgers vs. Florida Gators
Date and Time: Friday, March 24, 2017, 9:59 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
College Basketball Odds: Florida -1.5, O/U 131.5
Wisconsin vs. Florida TV Coverage: TBS
College Basketball Odds
Wisconsin ended its regular season in a funk, failing to win in five of its last seven and not getting the win in seven of its last nine, but turned it on starting with the Big Ten Tournament. The Badgers thumped Indiana and Northwestern to make the Big Ten Final before getting hammered by 15 as a short favorite against Michigan. Wisconsin bounced back to show it really belongs though with wins over Virginia Tech and Villanova to get here.
Defense carried the day for the Badgers against Villanova. Wisconsin held Villanova to just 41.2 percent from the floor thanks to its stifling defense and did just enough offensively to squeeze by. Everyone knew that this Badgers defense was good from its performance in Big Ten play, but shutting down one of the best offenses in college ball puts them on a different level.
For whatever reason, Florida looked good against every team not named Vanderbilt this season. The Gators couldn’t beat the Commodores in three tries and that led to an early exit from the SEC Tournament and some extra rest. UF definitely used that rest to its advantage in the first two rounds.
The Gators didn’t leave any room for doubt in either of their games thus far in the tournament. Florida cruised to a win over East Tennessee State after pulling away in the second half and thoroughly dominated Virginia to make it to the Sweet 16 with a suffocating effort on defense. The Cavaliers managed to score just 39 points on the evening as Florida routed Virginia by 26.
Matchup to Watch
The three-point line is worth keeping an eye on in this one considering what these teams have done there this season. Wisconsin was one of the top defenses in the nation this season, holding opposing teams to just 61.8 PPG, but it was a different story from beyond the arc. There, opponents were hitting 37.7 percent of their three-point attempts against the Badgers.
That’s a very different story from the Gators. UF also has one of the better defenses around, holding teams to just 65.7 PPG and 40.5 percent from the floor, but this team really shines beyond the three-point arc. The Gators are holding opponents to just 30.4 percent from the three-point line on the year and only allowed the Cavaliers to hit one of their 15 attempts on Saturday.
Wisconsin vs. Florida Free Picks
For Florida, it’s a bit surprising to see the Gators as a favorite to get to the Elite Eight considering they lost their best interior defender about a month ago. John Egbunu was averaging almost 1.5 blocks a game but tore his ACL in a win over Auburn and with that many thought the Gators hopes this season were down the drain. This team responded in a big way though and rallied together to make it to this stage.
It’s hard to pick a particular side in this game. Neither offense has been reliable, but the defenses have been and that’s why the under is the play here. Both teams prefer to play at a somewhat slower pace and protect the rim well, limiting offensive rebound opportunities. That will lead to a game where both teams score in the low 60s on Friday.
Wisconsin vs. Florida ATS Pick: Take the under in this defensive slugfest
Wisconsin vs. Florida Score Prediction: Florida 64, Wisconsin 62