The Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-12) and Wisconsin Badgers (21-8) will meet up in a Big Ten Conference affair Tuesday night inside the Kohl Center in Madison, WI.
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Wisconsin Badgers
Minnesota will look to put an end to its five-game losing streak and also gain revenge from suffering a 68-61 overtime loss to Wisconsin as 1.5-point home underdogs. The Golden Gophers shot a season-worst 31 percent from the field and had 16 turnovers. “We’ve started messing up and stuff like that and blaming each other for our mistakes,” commented Golden Gophers guard Chip Armelin. It’s important to note that starting point guard Julian Welch has been hampered by a hip injury, which could prove costly against one of the best defenses in the country. Minnesota is 7-9 ATS versus conference opponents this year.
The Golden Gophers will be meeting the Badgers for the 181st time, coming in with a 94-86 series lead. Minnesota has split the last eight games in the series under current head coach Tubby Smith. Forward Rodney Williams joins Welch in being the only double-digit scorers on the roster, while guard Andre Hollins provides a threat off the bench in averaging 6.1 points per game. Minnesota is outscoring its opponents by 98 points in the second half, but has been outscored by two points in the first 20 minutes of games.
Wisconsin needs one more win to clinch at least fourth place in the Big Ten standings and a bye in he first round of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. The Badgers have never finished below fourth in the standings during their 11 years under the direction of current head coach Bo Ryan. The program has alternated wins and losses over its last seven games, while going “over” the total in five straight. Wisconsin split its recent two-game road trip, picking up a 63-60 upset win over the Ohio State Buckeyes as 9.5-point underdogs last time out.
The Badgers are led by senior point guard Jordan Taylor, who is averaging 16.0 points per game during conference play. Wisconsin gets plenty of attention due to its defense, leading the nation in allowing just 52.0 points per game, while ranking sixth in field-goal percentage defense. Ryan has led the team to a 14-4 record in this series, including a 7-1 mark inside Tuesday night’s venue. The two programs have split the last six meetings with the total score being separated by just one point.
Bettors will likely back the Gophers due to their 3-0 ATS mark versus teams that average 64 points or less, while the Badgers are 0-5 ATS following a straight-up win.
Recommendation: Minnesota Golden Gophers +10
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