Baylor vs. Wisconsin Odds: Our Projected Spread, Total for NCAA Tournament Second Round
William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jared Butler (No. 12).
#1 Baylor vs. #9 Wisconsin Odds
Fresh off dominant performances in the opening round, Wisconsin and Baylor will meet on Sunday in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32.
We project this line at Baylor -6.7, with the total at 136.
How Baylor & Wisconsin Match Up
|All stats via KenPom.|
What To Know About Baylor
For most of the season, most considered Baylor and Gonzaga as the two best teams in the country with almost no difference between them from a power ratings perspective. That has since changed as Baylor has dropped a few games, while Gonzaga has remained undefeated. What happened to the Bears?
Unfortunately, they had to deal with extreme COVID issues inside the program, which led to a long pause in activities. Since they’ve returned, the Bears just haven’t been the same team, especially on the defensive end. Baylor has just looked much slower on that end and has been much more vulnerable off the dribble and in transition.
Can the Bears regain their pre-COVID form? That’s the primary question heading into the tournament after suffering a loss in the Big 12 semis to Oklahoma State. If it can, you can put it back in Gonzaga’s neighborhood. If not, Scott Drew’s squad can still certainly make a run, especially if they keep shooting a nation-leading 41.8% from distance for an offense that is also elite on the offensive glass and can score in many different ways.
If not, they will be in some exciting, high-variance shootouts and will have to fight to get through the second weekend. — Stuckey
What To Know About Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Badgers’ efficiency makes them difficult to figure out. Wisconsin ranks 10th in adjusted efficiency margin because of its 30th ranking in offensive efficiency and 13th ranking on defense, according to KenPom.
This is a perennial problem for the Badgers, whose slow tempo (323rd in the country) is pretty typical for the program under Bo Ryan-disciple Greg Gard. The Badgers lost five of their last six in the regular season and are not the flashiest pick for people looking for a team that can make a March run.
You never know with Wisconsin, though. It’s like a poor man’s Virginia and can beat anyone as long as it controls the pace. We know the Badgers won’t beat themselves with free throw misses or turnovers, so they will be in almost every game. However, the question remains if they can actually execute on offense in the closing moments in order to pull out close games against top-tier competition?
Greg Gard’s group hasn’t given us much to be hopeful about in those moments to end the season. Nate Reuvers has seemingly regressed this season, which hasn’t helped matters. – Stuckey
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