Nebraska Cornhuskers at #7 Wisconsin Badgers
Kohl Center – Madison, Wisconsin
Thursday, January 15, 2015, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Wisconsin -14 1/2
Current Line: Wisconsin -15
Opening Total: 118
Current Total: 119 1/2
Opening Money Line: Wisconsin -1450 / Nebraska +850
Current Money Line: Wisconsin -1525 / Nebraska +925
The Wisconsin Badgers were upset last Sunday at Rutgers 67-62. The loss snapped an 8 game winning streak for the Badgers. Wisconsin is 15-2 and looks to get back on track as they host the 10-6 Nebraska Cornhuskers Thursday night. Wisconsin is 3-1 in the Big Ten and part of a 4 way way tie for second a half game behind 4-1 Maryland. Nebraska is 2-2 in conference and tied for fourth with Purdue behind seven teams though.
Nebraska leads the series 11-10 against Wisconsin, but the Badgers are 6-4 in Madison. Nebraska won the only meeting last season 77-68 in Lincoln to snap a 5 game losing streak to Wisconsin. Since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten a few seasons ago, the Badgers are 4-1 in the series.
Nebraska is coached by Tim Miles. The Cornhuskers have road losses at Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Iowa, along with home losses to Creighton, Incarnate Word, and Indiana. Nebraska has won two straight games. The Cornhuskers have key road wins over Florida State, plus wins over Loyola Marymount and Ohio in a tournament in Hawaii, and home wins over Cincinnati, Rutgers and Illinois 53-43 Sunday. Nebraska is 4-9 ATS and the total is 3-7 this season. The Cornhuskers 3 point favorites against Illinois and the total was 124.
Wisconsin is coached by Bo Ryan. Besides the Rutgers loss, the Badgers’ only other loss came at home to Duke. Wisconsin has key home wins over Green Bay, Boise State, Buffalo, Penn State, and Purdue, neutral site wins over UAB, Georgetown and Oklahoma in a tournament in the Bahamas, plus road wins over Marquette, Milwaukee, Cal, and Northwestern. The Badgers are 10-7 ATS and the total is 7-10 this season. Wisconsin was a 15 point favorite over Rutgers and the total was 120.
Nebraska is outscoring teams 66-61 this season. The Cornhuskers are #51 nationally in points allowed. Nebraska is shooting 43.4% from the field including 30.9% from 3 point range. Nebraska makes 72.1% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 37.7% from the field including 27.6% from 3 point range. The Cornhuskers are #22 or better nationally in both categories. Nebraska averages 34.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 32.9. Nebraska averages 10.3 assists, 13.8 turnovers, 6.4 steals and 3.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.4 assists, 14.8 turnovers, 6.4 steals and 2.1 blocks per game.
Nebraska forward Terren Petteway averages 18.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard/forward Shavon Shields averages 17.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1 steal a game. Forward Walter Pitchford averages 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds a game. Guard Benny Parker averages 6.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Forward David Rivers averages 5.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Tai Webster, Tarin Smith, and Moses Abraham will also get significant minutes in the rotation. Forward B.J. Day is out for the season with a knee injury.
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Wisconsin is outscoring teams 74-55. The Badgers are #7 nationally in points allowed and #60 in scoring. Wisconsin is shooting 48.8% from the field including 34.4% from 3 point range. The Badgers are #20 nationally in field goal percentage. Wisconsin makes 74% of their free throws and is #31 nationally in the category. Opponents are shooting 40.7% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. Wisconsin averages 34.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 25.3 per game. The Badgers are #3 nationally in rebounds allowed. Wisconsin averages 13 assists, 8 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 4 blocks per game. Opponents average 8.5 assists, 11.8 turnovers, 4.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky averages 16.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.9 blocks per game. He is probable with a concussion. Sam Dekker averages 12.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. Nigel Hayes averages 12.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Guard Traevon Jackson averages 9.4 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Jackson suffered a foot injury against Rutgers and is out until at least late February. Josh Gasser averages 7.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Duje Dukan, Bronson Koenig, and Vitto Brown will also get minutes in the rotation.
Nebraska is 6-0 ATS in Thursday games, 4-0 after allowing 50 points or less, 20-8 in Big Ten games, 12-5 after a cover, 4-10 overall, 1-4 in road games and against teams with winning home records, and 2-9 against teams with winning records.
Wisconsin is 8-17 ATS against teams with losing road records, 1-4 at home, against teams with winning records, overall and against Big Ten teams.
The loss of point guard Jackson will hurt the Badgers, but they still have a lot of talent and depth. Koenig will take over as the starting point guard and averages 2.1 assists per game. Nebraska is a solid but not spectacular team. This should be a low scoring game as both teams are good on defense. I think the badgers win at home.