Saturday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Michigan-Wisconsin, Loyola-Chicago-Indiana State

Saturday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Michigan-Wisconsin, Loyola-Chicago-Indiana State article feature image
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Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Wisconsin Badgers forward Ethan Happ (22), Michigan Wolverines center Jon Teske (15).

For the first Saturday in roughly a month, there won’t be any channel surfing from college basketball to NFL games (still read our conference championship previews, though).

Among the 18 ranked teams in action, No. 2 Michigan travels to Wisconsin before Loyola-Chicago and Indiana State square off in a Missouri Valley showdown.

Which sides deliver the most value? Let’s break them down.


>> All odds as of Friday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and track your bets.


Betting Odds: Michigan Wolverines at Wisconsin Badgers

  • Spread: Michigan -2
  • Over/Under: 125
  • Time: Noon ET
  • TV: ESPN

The Wolverines (9-8 against the spread) have covered in their past four games after whiffing in the previous five contests. Although the Badgers (8-9 ATS) have picked up where their ensuing opponent left off, lacking covers in four of their past five affairs, John Beilein’s crew shouldn’t take them lightly.

Despite undefeated Michigan boasting the third-rated Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (87.4 opponents’ points per 100 possessions) in college basketball, it’s allowed a 60.6% of its opponents’ scoring from inside the arc — the highest rate in the country. On the flip side, Wisconsin has generated 53.5% of its offense from that vicinity, which sits 65th overall.

Not only is Greg Gard’s unit converting its two-pointers at a 53.4% rate, but it even possesses the nation’s top point-froward in 6-foot-10 Ethan Happ (19.4 points per game). Wolverines center John Teske can matchup physically with the polished big, but expect Happ to still have his way with his prowess for instantly sensing double teams and playing inside-out.

While the Badgers’ perimeter offense can be streaky, they’re shooting 41.3% on 3s in Madison through eight contests.

Moreover, Wisconsin’s 14th-ranked AdjD (92.0 opponents’ points per 100 possessions) can shift the pace towards its ultra-slow tempo if it controls the glass. Thanks to a slight size advantage and the 63rd-highest defensive rebounding rate, look for Happ and Co. to present Michigan its toughest test down low yet.

THE PICK: Wisconsin +2

Betting Odds: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers at Indiana State Sycamores

  • Spread: Loyola-Chicago -3
  • Over/Under: 127
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPNU

The Ramblers (8-9 ATS) don’t have the talent to reach the Final Four in consecutive seasons, but they’re hitting their stride with covers in four of their past six games. Meanwhile, the Sycamores (8-7 ATS) have amounted covers in just two of their past five contests.

Porter Moser’s squad delivered a 35-point demolition of Indiana State in their matchup on Jan. 2, but projecting another blowout is foolish. Sycamores lead guard Jordan Barnes (17.6 ppg) sat out the final 20 minutes of that affair with an “illness,” as Loyola-Chicago limited ISU to a season-low 0.70 points per possession.

Nevertheless, the Ramblers didn’t possess their top on-ball defender in Lucas Williamson, who’s returned to their lineup over the past three games. Led by the 6-foot-4 wing, Loyola-Chicago’s 20.4% opponents’ turnover rate should give Indiana State’s offense fits, given it’s turning the ball over 19.8% of the time.

LUC is manufacturing the highest defensive rebounding rate in Division I, too, while ISU owns the 80th-lowest offensive rebounding percentage. The Ramblers won’t have an issue employing their sluggish pace as a result.

At the other end, Sycamores’ opponents are totaling 51.7% of their scoring from two-point land, and the road favorite has generated the 10th-highest two-point percentage (57.0%) in the nation. Ramblers big Cameron Krutwig (13.3 ppg) will excel in the paint against a soft frontcourt.

According to our Bet Labs data, Loyola-Chicago is 19-13 (59.4%) ATS as a favorite vs. Missouri Valley opponents, dating back to last season. That trend  will continue on Saturday afternoon.

THE PICK: Ramblers -3