NCAA Basketball Las Vegas Prediction: Wisconsin Badgers vs Penn State
Sunday, March 10, 2013
by Tomas Lopez
Two consecutive losses knocked No. 21 Wisconsin out of the Big Ten title race. On Sunday, the Badgers will try to avoid finishing their regular season on a season-high, three-game skid when they visit lowly Penn State. Wisconsin lost at home to Purdue and at Michigan State to drop to fifth in the conference and needs a win in its final game to have a chance at a first-round bye in the conference tournament. The Wisconsin Badgers shot a season-low 29.4 percent in their loss to Michigan State, managing only 43 points after scoring 56 in their loss to Purdue.
Penn State, guaranteed to finish at the bottom of the conference, has won two of three after snapping a 14-game losing skid with a shocking home win over Michigan. The Penn State Nittany Lions were blown out at Minnesota after that, but recovered to defeat Northwestern by seven points. Wisconsin defeated Penn State 60-51 at home on Jan. 3 to open conference play for both teams. Nittany Lions junior guard Jermaine Marshall scored 25 points in the upset of Michigan and is second on the team with 15.3 points per game.
Wisconsin Badgers (20-10, 11-6 Big Ten): Senior F Jared Berggren (11.4), junior G Ben Brust (11.2) and senior F Ryan Evans (10.4) are all averaging double figures in scoring. Evans leads the team with 7.7 rebounds per game, while Berggren averages 7 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. The Badgers are ranked 60th in the nation in rebounding with 37.3 per game. Freshman F Sam Dekker (9.5 points) is shooting 44.2 percent from 3-point range.
Penn State Nittany Lions (10-19, 2-15): Marshall scored a game-high 19 points in the loss at Wisconsin and is 15-for-30 from 3-point range over the last four games. Sophomore guard D.J. Newbill leads the team with 15.9 points and 4 assists per game and is second with 5.1 rebounds. Sophomore forward Ross Travis leads the team with 7.1 rebounds per game. Junior F Sasa Borovnjak recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Northwestern.
1. If Wisconsin wins, it will need by Michigan, Michigan State or Ohio State in order to secure a first-round bye.
2. If Wisconsin loses, it is guaranteed the fifth seed and will face Penn State in the opening round.
3. Penn State is expecting more than 50 former Nittany Lions players for Alumni Day. Titus Ivory, a key to Penn State’s Sweet 16 run in 2001 who is recovering from a stroke suffered in October, will be an honorary captain.
NCAA Basketball Prediction: Wisconsin 63, Penn State 56.