If you look at the betting line for this Saturday’s late game, the Wisconsin Badgers actually have pretty decent odds to make it to the NCAA Championship Finals. They’re a shallow +2.0 dog against the surging Kentucky Wildcats, and the appropriately placed third favorite to win the tournament. Can Bo Ryan’s trademark defense get the job done?
It’s easy to say “no” partly because both Florida and Kentucky seemed destined for an SEC Championship rematch, but Wisconsin has proven to boast a diversely capable portfolio. They outmuscled the uber talented Arizona Wildcats, ran Baylor and Oregon in to the dirt and dropped the largest point differential in the Round of 64 by slaughtering American University by forty points.
During all this, Wisconsin has gone a polished 4-0 SU and ATS and have long since put a frustrating loss against Michigan State behind them. In the process, their leading scorer – Frank Kaminsky – has turned in to a star. But is he enough to bank on the Wisconsin Badgers’ odds to make it to the NCAA Championship Finals?
NCAA Championship Finals Odds
- Florida Gators -120
- Kentucky Wildcats +280
- Wisconsin Badgers +400
- UConn Huskies +700
The biggest problem with Wisconsin is that Kentucky is a matchup nightmare for them. Julius Randle and, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson form the foundation of a hyper athletic frontcourt set that is one of the best rebounding teams in the country. They garnered the sixth most rebounds in the country this year (40.6) and allowed the 15th fewest. The Badgers have never been a great team on the boards, and while they’re a suburb shooting team, they don’t make every shot, and if they’re going to have any chance of beating the odds to make it to the NCAA Championship Finals, they’re going to have to be shooting at their best.
Betting on Wisconsin to beat Kentucky seems like a fool’s errand to be honest. Going up against Florida will be just as tough, and bottling of Shabazz Napier seems like an impossible feat for the Badgers’ backcourt. Then again, look at the laundry list of victims that Wisconsin has left in its wake. The Badgers are indeed a legitimate Final Four team.
The problem? I’m not sure they can survive if Kaminsky is forced to bang with the biggest and baddest from Kentucky or Florida. The oddsmakers have created a line that reflects concerns about Kentucky more so than valuing the punching power of the Bo Ryan’s boys. Even though Kentucky’s youth and inexperience is a real concern, so should their talent. There’s lots of things to love about Kaminsky and Ryan, but I don’t love the Wisconsin Badgers odds to make it to the NCAA Championship simply because I can’t see them getting past Kentucky.