BANKER (Purdue vs. Wisconsin)
There is a little bit of juice here, but I don’t mind it too much as I think Purdue is in a very solid spot to go on the road and start fast here. Purdue has been one of the better teams in the country this season and it has been due largely because of their prolific offense. Purdue is currently ranked number 1 in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, 2nd in 3-point percentage, 3rd in offensive effective field goal percentage, and 8th in 2-point percentage. They are an offensive juggernaut with 4-5 legitimate scoring options. Wisconsin is usually known for their stifling defense but this year it has been a different story. Wisconsin is currently ranked 137th in defensive effective field goal percentage, 253rd in defensive turnover rate, 125th in defensive 3-point percentage, and 158th in defensive 2-point percentage so they have actually been a middle of the pack defense this season. In the first meeting when these 2 met, Wisconsin went into Purdue and turned in one of their best performances of the season.
Wisconsin was nearly 12-point underdogs and won straight up while holding to Purdue to only 69 points, the 2nd least number of points they have scored at home in 16 total home games this season. I expect a much better effort offensively from Purdue here tonight. Wisconsin has been a very good offensive team this year largely due to the success of Johnny Davis, who may end up being NCAA player of the year. All the boilermaker’s focus should be on stopping Davis and forcing others to beat them. While Davis is having an incredible year, Wisconsin is still only ranked 246th in offensive effective field goal percentage, 206th in 2-point percentage, and 279th in 3-point percentage. Metrics wise, Purdue beats them in every offensive category, and I think the revenge factor holds true here as I don’t think Wisconsin will have that much success twice against this good of a team. Score Prediction: 41-33 Purdue 1H
Arizona has been, in my opinion, the best team in the country to this point. My only worry with them come March is that they haven’t played the toughest schedule, but they get a chance to dispel that notion here by going into USC and getting a huge win. Arizona is one of the more explosive teams in the nation with how quickly they can score and turn game around or put a game away. In their game against Utah, the game was tied with nearly 6 minutes left in the first half and they would go on to score nearly 30 points in the final 6 minutes and led by 20 at the break. USC is a very good defensive team with crazy length and athleticism at every position, but they have been without their star point guard, Boogie Ellis, which I think will hurt them tonight. We saw USC struggle with Oregon St and then grab a huge win on the road vs Oregon, but I think they come back down to earth here. I expect Arizona to be too much for USC offensively as I don’t think USC is consistent enough on that side of the ball to keep up. Score Prediction: 79-67 Arizona
Kent State has been one of the hottest teams in the nation over the last couple of weeks, and earlier in the season they suffered a shocking home loss to northern Illinois as nearly 16-point favorites. Since that game, Kent State has gone 12-1 and is currently on a 10-game winning streak so I think that loss to NIU back in January really woke them up. Northern Illinois is having an abysmal season as they come into this game with an 8-20 record and are 0-4 in their last 4 games. They have been playing somewhat competitive lately as they played Buffalo tough twice in a row, but I just cannot see them taking down a hot Kent state team and beating them twice in the same season. I think Kent St is a great parlay piece tonight and should be able to grab a road win behind a strong performance from star guard, Sincere Carry and company. Score Prediction: 75-66 Kent State.