Yesterday we mentioned a couple of 5-18 teams as potential plays and explained that playing “bad” teams wasn’t the best idea. Those teams were NC Greensboro and Towson. Well, both of those teams had decent leads last night. NC Greensboro couldn’t hold on, and Towson came close to blowing it but managed a 3 point win. Just another example of why it simply doesn’t pay to back bad teams. It’s tempting, when the numbers suggest a play, teams like that are 5-18 for a reason.
We’ll take a look at one of the marquee Games on the card tonight, Illinois at Wisconsin. The Big 10 race is still wide open with any one of 5 teams still in position to take the crown, including these two teams that will hook up tonight in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is ranked 11th in the Nation at 18-5 overall and 8-3 in the Big 10 while Illinois is 8-3 in Conference and 16-8 overall. Interestingly enough, these two teams are responsible for Conference leader Michigan States two Conference losses this season.
The straight up winner in this Game tonight hardly seems to be in doubt. Illinois did manage to beat Wisky at home in 2005 and 2006 with the 2005 win snapping a 35 Game home win streak for the Badgers. Illinois also got a win in 1998. Other than those Games though, it’s been all Badgers at home. No surprise, the Badgers are 13-0 at home this year and are once again riding a home winning streak of 18 Games dating back to last season.
It’s scary to think how good this Wisconsin team could be if they hadn’t lost their 6’10” high scoring forward, Jon Leuer. As it is, they are 6-2 without him. So once again, the question here is whether or not Wisconsin can extend the margin here tonight and cover this number of -9. The fact that they have been able to extend the margin at home against much better teams than Illinois, tells us they can. Most recently, an 18 point win over Michigan State and earlier, a 22 point win over Ohio State confirms that.
Wisconsin has simply performed better against good teams than Illinois has this year. Illinois is a very poor 4-7 on the road this year and now must go up against one of the toughest home cOurts in college hoops.
We can fill space in an article with stats and records, but at the end of the day it comes down to having confidence in your numbers. That’s how we play hoops, by the numbers. We have Wisconsin winning this Game 71-55 which gives us a 7 point cushion over the current betting line. Sometimes you have to pay a premium to back good teams. We think Wisconsin extends this margin late as they prove to be the class of the Big 10. Wisconsin -9