Wisconsin vs. Michigan Prediction, Game Preview

    Wisconsin vs. Michigan prediction and game preview. The Badgers look to deal a significant blow to the Wolverines' NCAA Tournament hopes Thursday night in Ann Arbor.

    February 16, 2017

    Wisconsin vs. Michigan prediction and game preview. The Badgers look to deal a significant blow to the Wolverines’ NCAA Tournament hopes Thursday night in Ann Arbor.

    Wisconsin vs. Michigan Game Preview

    When: Thursday, Feb. 16 – 7 p.m. ET
    Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Mich.
    TV Broadcast: ESPN

    UPDATE: Wisconsin coach Greg Gard announced Thursday that guard Bronson Koenig will not play against Michigan because of a left calf injury. Freshman D’Mitrik Trice will make his first career start in place of Koenig.

    Wisconsin’s loss to Northwestern on Sunday was the culmination of a three-week shooting slump that has began to frustrate the Badgers. They were able to scratch out victories to run their winning streak to eight before the Wildcats went into Madison and pulled off the upset.

    Bronson Koenig, one of the Badgers’ most reliable shooters over the last three years, has been one of the team’s coldest players over the last five games and will need to find a way to snap out of his slump. Even Ethan Happ has had his troubles the past couple contests.

    Both will try to get in a rhythm against a Michigan team looking to build its NCAA Tournament resume. The Wolverines are 16-9 overall and 6-6 in the Big Ten following back-to-back double-digit wins over Michigan State and Indiana. Derrick Walton Jr. scored 25 points against the Hoosiers on Sunday and was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week.

    Michigan has lost five straight meetings with Wisconsin – including a four-point loss in January – but a home victory Thursday would be a big boost to its Tournament chances.

    Wisconsin Wins If …

    … its shots start to fall. It really might be that simple. Wisconsin likely won’t get away with shooting under 40 percent in a fourth consecutive game and leave Ann Arbor victorious. The Badgers did that in wins over Nebraska and Rutgers, but they needed overtime in both. Koenig is shooting 25.5 percent over his last five games. Happ has combined for 17 points while having more turnovers (seven) than field goals made (six) over the last two, and he went just 5 of 13 in the first meeting with Michigan. If Wisconsin can snap out of its slump, it should pull out a win.

    Michigan Wins If …

    … Walton continues his hot stretch. The senior point guard is averaging 23.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists and shooting 55.9 percent – 53.8 from 3-point range – over his last five games. Granted, the Wolverines are only 3-2 in that span, but Walton will need to control the matchup with Koenig and keep the Badgers on their toes defensively.

    Matchup To Watch

    Happ vs. Moe Wagner/D.J. Wilson

    The Michigan big men contributed to Happ’s rough performance in the first meeting, which Wisconsin still won 68-64 on Jan. 17. That was before the rest of the Badgers were struggling, though. If Wagner and Wilson can keep Happ off the glass and away from the basket again, the Wolverines could be in good shape.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: Michigan -1
    Over/Under: 127

    Wisconsin vs. Michigan Prediction

    The Badgers are going to be better from the field and shoot 45 percent – and it still won’t be enough. The Wolverines will be fired up in front of their home crowd, get out to an early lead and hold on for a big win.

    Wisconsin vs. Michigan final score prediction: Michigan 71, Wisconsin 65

    MORE: Livin’ B1G – No Doubt About Northwestern


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