Big Ten Basketball Predictions: Indiana Hoosiers vs. Wisconsin Badgers

No. 17 Indiana Hoosiers at No. 25 Wisconsin Badgers
Thursday, 1/26/12, 9:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Wisconsin -7
Current Betting Line:  Wisconsin -7.5
Opening Total:  126
Current Total:  125.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Wisconsin Badgers have won eight straight meetings with the Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana snapped a three-game losing streak with a 73-54 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions as 15-point home favorites last time out, while also covering the spread for the first time in six games.  The Hoosiers are continuing to rely on freshman forward Cody Zeller offensively, as he leads the Big Ten with a 65.9 field-goal percentage.  “He is very talented and very gifted,” commented Nittany Lions head coach Patrick Chambers.  Offensively, the team is shooting 50 percent overall from the floor, including 44.9 percent from beyond the arc.  Indiana is 2-2 ATS as an underdog this year.

The Hoosiers have also been getting a lift from sophomore Will Sheehey, who is averaging 10.0 points per game, which is the highest among Big Ten Conference non starters.  Indiana will certainly have its hands full in trying to score Thursday night, facing one of the nation’s top defenses, while looking to snap an eight-game losing streak in the overall series.

Wisconsin has climbed within a half game of first place in conference play with four consecutive wins, including a 67-63 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini as 1.5-point road favorites.  “You’re into January now, so hopefully all those parts are meshing,” commented Badgers head coach Bo Ryan on the current status of his team.  Ryan’s .710 winning percentage in conference games is the best of any coach in Big Ten history.  Wisconsin is 25-12 ATS at home the past two-plus seasons.

The Badgers are on a record-setting pace at the defensive end, allowing opponents to score just 49.6 points per game, which is tops in college basketball.  Preseason All-American Jordan Taylor continues to be one of the best point guards in the nation, leading the team in scoring, while ranking second in the Big Ten with a 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio.  Wisconsin has won the last eight contests between the two schools by an average of 16.9 points per game.  It’s the team’s longest win streak in the series since winning 11 in a row from 1912-19.

Bettors will likely back the Badgers due to their 9-3 ATS mark as a home favorite of 7 to 12.5 points, while the Hoosiers are 1-7 ATS in the last eight meetings.

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