College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Wisconsin vs. Houston: Roll With the Cougars in Vegas
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- Wisconsin and Houston duel in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas.
- The Badgers defeated Texas A&M in the opening round in an ugly game while the Cougars dominated Butler.
- Doug Ziefel breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Wisconsin vs. Houston Odds
+100o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Maui Invitational semifinals are set to commence and the first matchup drawn is certain to be a slugfest.
The 12th-ranked Houston Cougars take on the Wisconsin Badgers. Both teams will carry the momentum of double-digit victories into this one.
Defense will be the theme of this contest — both programs are top-10 in adjusted defensive efficiency — but what ultimately may decide the game is the offenses.
Who will earn a spot in the championship game? Let’s dive in to find out.
Badgers’ Pace is Their Key
Under Greg Gard, the Wisconsin Badgers have been one of the slowest teams in the nation. They are currently 326th in adjusted tempo. While Gard is certainly not the Guru of Go, his club thrives when they control the pace.
The Badgers win against the Aggies was not the prettiest. They were hit with a barrage of 3s early on that created a big deficit. Wisconsin did what it does best, though, as it dialed up the defense and strung together high percentage shots that culminated with a 15-1 run.
The Badgers’ guards led the way, as Johnny Davis poured in 21 points and Brad Davison added 19 points of his own.
Two areas where Wisconsin thrived against Texas A&M were on the offensive glass and in the turnover department. The Badgers hauled in six more offensive rebounds and forced five more turnovers.
The advantages in these two areas against the Cougars will be negated. Houston is 56th in offensive rebound percentage and 33rd in turnover percentage, both rankings are well above the national average.
In a game where the pace will be in its favor, Wisconsin must convert when it gets opportunities inside the arc. The Badgers are 275th in two-point percentage and a bad day inside could lead to this game getting out of hand quickly.
Cougars Turn Defense into Offense
The Houston Cougars showed what they are all about in their matchup against Butler. They dominated the Bulldogs defensively in the first half, holding them to just 20 points.
The performance is directly in line with their metrics. This Cougars are fourth in adjusted defensive efficiency.
They also created ample possessions for themselves by forcing 20 turnovers vs. Butler. Houston did not let any of those extra possessions go to waste, as it shot over 50 percent from the field.
Senior forward Fabian White Jr. led the way with 21 points. Even though he had a quiet game statistically, Marcus Sasser can not be forgotten about. He may have only had nine points, but three of them came on this incredible move:
My goodness, Marcus Sasser. The SHAKE. #NBADraftpic.twitter.com/ZPMVpi3KFb
— CLIP SZN (@VolsAndDraft) November 22, 2021
The Cougars will be the substantially better team offensively, but the Badgers’ great defense may slow them a bit. The key will be creating turnovers in the half-court as every extra possession will be crucial.
Wisconsin vs. Houston Betting Pick
The Cougars are projected to be nearly six-point favorites by Bart Torvik. I would certainly be looking to grab them at that number, but would also take them up to 8.5.
The Badgers may be great defensively but this Houston team may outmatch them on that end.
Look for Houston to dominate on the defensive end and create multiple scoring runs as it could pull away in this one.
Pick: Houston -8.5 or Better
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