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The Wisconsin Badgers will host its first game of 201920 campaign when Eastern Illinois makes the trek to Madison on Friday. Both teams suffered losses in their season-openers to ranked teams. Wisconsin leads the all-time series 5-1, which includes winning all five games in Madison. This is the first meeting between the teams since 2003.
Mack Smith looking to extend NCAA leading 3-point streakEastern Illinois is in the midst of its toughest opening week in program history. EIU fell to 12th-ranked Texas Tech 85-60 on Tuesday. After falling behind 7-0, the Panthers cut the deficit to 20-17 on a Mack Smith 3-pointer at the 11:34 mark. Smith, who finished the game with two treys and eight points, has now made a 3-pointer in 50 straight games, which is the NCAA's longest active streak. Texas Tech would answer EIU's push with another short spurt to make the score 32-20. The Raiders then closed the half on a 10-5 run to make the score 41-26. TTU controlled most of the second half and led by as many as 32 points. Junior college transfer George Dixon had an excellent debut for the Panthers posting a double-double with 13 points along with 10 caroms and two assists. Jordan Skipper-Brown, another junior college transfer, was the only other Panther in double-figures as he finished with 10 points on four of five shooting. EIU shot 40.4% from the field, 37.5% from beyond the arc, and 61.5% from the charity stripe. The Panthers were outrebounded 40-to-30 and committed 15 turnovers.
Eastern Illinois returned seven letterwinners and four starters from last year's squad that went 14-18. 2019-20 All-OVC preseason selection Josiah Wallace led the Panthers with 15.5 points a game last year. EIU is a veteran team despite bringing in five newcomers as they have no underclassmen on their roster.
Badgers looking to win fourth straight home-openerWisconsin is looking to bounce back from its heart-breaking 65-63 overtime loss to 20th-ranked Saint Mary's in Sioux Falls (SD). Nate Reuvers was instrumental down the stretch of regulation for the Badgers as he scored five points to bring Wisconsin within 50-49. The 6-11 junior also grabbed a defensive rebound off a missed layup, which meant that Aleem Ford's subsequent layup with 52 seconds remaining tied the game at 52, instead of the Badgers still being down two. Then he blocked a Jordan Ford jumper with 27 ticks on the clock. Reuvers led the Badgers with 18 points on 8-for-18 shooting to go along with six rebounds and four blocks. Brad Davison contributed 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting and four rebounds while D'mitrik Trice added 10 points, three rebounds, and three assists.
Wisconsin shot 42.3% (22-for-52) from the field, 26.3% (5-for-19) from the 3-point line, and 70% (14-for-20) from the free-throw line. The Badgers held the Gaels to 39.3% (24-for-61) shooting from the floor. But the Gaels made eight of 18 shots (44.4%) from beyond the arc and outrebounded the Badgers 36-to-28, including 13-to-7 on the offensive boards. Saint Mary's converted its second-chance opportunities into 14 points compared to six for Wisconsin.
The following trends are courtesy of Covers.com:
- Badgers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following an ATS win.
- Badgers are 36-16 ATS in their last 52 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
- Panthers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- Panthers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I believe that Wisconsin will come out angry after coming off a tough loss, which is partly why I am giving up the points. Another reason is that the Badgers defense appears to be in midseason form. While the Badgers were their usual stout self on the defensive end, they struggled mightily on the offensive end which is kind of worrisome. But Trice and Davison are solid guards and if the game against Saint Mary's is any indication, it appears Reuvers is ready to make a huge leap this year. Eastern Illinois has no answer for Reuvers defensively.
Prediction: Wisconsin -18.5
Full-Game Total Pick
After initially thinking about going with the under, the 130.5 points is too low given the circumstances. I expect that Reuvers will have a field day inside while the Panthers' up-tempo style of play will create a little chaos for Wisconsin. But I believe that the Badgers' veteran guards will be able to adjust to the pace and make the Panthers pay for their mistakes on both ends of the floor.
Over is 10-1 in Panthers last 11 non-conference games. The over has also his in five of the Badgers last seven non-conference games.
Prediction: Over 130.5