This game will likely be the lowest scoring first-round game of the NCAA Tournament. Both the Wisconsin Badgers and Oregon Ducks are extremely patient on offense, and they know how to play elite defense. Oregon is the 12th seed in the South region, while Wisconsin earned the fifth seed with an impressive regular season.
The Ducks come into this game with a ton of momentum, winning their last eight games. Oregon put together an amazing performance against Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Wisconsin has been steady all season long, bringing a 23-10 record into this game. The Badgers have put together an impressive resume. Wisconsin is a 3.0 point favorite over Oregon in this matchup.
Wisconsin Will Take Their Best Shot
Wisconsin isn’t opposed to taking a quick shot on offense, but they will make sure it’s a great look. The Badgers aren’t a very deep team, but everyone they play can score. Free-throw shooting has been a major concern for Wisconsin this season, as they are shooting just 65 percent as a team. Even if the Badgers aren’t shooting well, they will be playing tough defense. Wisconsin allows just 61.4 points per game this season.
Everything that Wisconsin does goes through forward Ethan Happ, and that is sound strategy from the Badgers. Happ leads the team in nearly every statistical category, including 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Guards D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davidson combine for more than 22 points per game this season and will need to make shots to keep pressure off of Happ.
Ducks Must Stop Happ
If Oregon is going to pull off this upset, they are going to have to find a way to defend Happ. This wouldn’t be a big deal if they still had Bol Bol on the floor, who was averaging 2.7 blocks per game. The Ducks will likely put a ton of pressure on the Wisconsin guards in hopes of speeding them up and creating turnovers. Oregon comes into this tournament allowing just 62.9 points per night.
Oregon has been getting terrific play from Payton Pritchard and Louis King of late, and it has fueled their run. Pritchard and King have combined for more than 25 points per game this season, and they are doing their part to make up for the loss of Bol. If the Ducks are going to win this game, they are going to have to get some production from other than these two players.
Oregon Upsets Badgers in Thriller
It’s not often that power-five conference teams have such a large disparity in seeds, but that’s because Oregon had such a terrible start to the season. Make no mistake about it, this Ducks team isn’t the same team from the first month of the season. Wisconsin has been steady all season long, but they are limited in what they can do on offense. Happ is a great player, but the Ducks just have too many weapons. Bet the Oregon Ducks +3.0 over the Wisconsin Badgers in this first round matchup.