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Wisconsin Hosts Michigan

Sam Dekker and the Badgers tasted defeat for the first time Tuesday. Can they rebound with a win over Michigan on Saturday?

Sam Dekker and the Wisconsin Badgers tasted defeat for the first time Tuesday, losing to Indiana. Can they rebound with a win over Michigan on Saturday?

Looking to bounce back from a first loss of the season, No. 3 Wisconsin hosts fellow Big Ten hopefuls Michigan on Saturday.

Tip-off at the Kohl Center is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET.

Wisconsin (16-1, 3-1 Big Ten) saw its unbeaten record come to a close Tuesday, losing 75-72 to Indiana in Bloomington.

The Hoosiers, who snapped a 12-game losing streak against the Badgers with the win, scored 52 points in the paint as they harassed the Wisconsin defense from start to finish.

Wisconsin could have forced the game into overtime at the end but three-point misses from Traevon Jackson and Ben Brust sealed the deal and sent the Badgers home with a very different feeling to that which they’ve become accustomed to.

The loss all but assures the side of a drop in its AP ranking this Monday. Another loss would likely see the Badgers drop out of the top 10.

Bo Ryan’s side will strive to return to winning ways Saturday as it returns to Madison to host unranked Michigan.

The Wolverines (12-4, 4-0 Big Ten) have won six straight and are unbeaten in conference play having cruised past Penn State on Tuesday.

The school’s six-game winning streak coincides with the absence of forward Mitch McGary.

McGary, who hasn’t played since December 14, underwent back surgery last week and is expected to miss the rest of the season. The sophomore had been leading the Wolverines with 8.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game, and was fourth on the team with 9.5 points per contest.

While the Wolverines are 8-0 without McGary this season, the next nine days will be telling. After Saturday’s game at Wisconsin, the Wolverines face No. 14 Iowa (Wednesday) and No. 25 Michigan State (Jan. 25). Successfully navigating this portion of the schedule would be huge for Jim Beilein and the Wolverines.

Michigan won’t be looking ahead to those contests against the Hawkeyes and Spartans though. The Wolverines’ focus will be solely on securing an elusive win in Madison.

The Wolverines have not won on the road against the Badgers since February 1999, a run of 12 games. That makes them very much the underdogs heading into play on Saturday afternoon.

Michigan Wolverines vs. Wisconsin Badgers odds for 01/18/2014

Wisconsin opened as an 8-point favorite when lines were released for Saturday’s headline Big Ten game.

The Wolverines’ struggles against the Badgers aren’t limited to the road either. Wisconsin has won 12 of the last 13 games between the sides all told. Michigan’s one success during that stretch, a 59-41 win in Ann Arbor, came on January 8, 2012.

Both Michigan (9-6-1 ATS) and Wisconsin (10-6-1 ATS) have fared well against the spread this season. Home court should play into bettors’ calculations though; the Badgers are 8-4-1 ATS at home while the Wolverines are 1-3-0 ATS on the road.

Wisconsin has covered the spread in nine of the last 13 games played between the sides at the Kohl Center.

At time of publication, the over/under hasn’t been released. If, and when, it’s released, you’ll find it at the above link.

For the record, both Michigan (8-6-0) and Wisconsin (10-6-0) have favored the over so far this season. The total has gone over in four of Wisconsin’s last six home games and eight of Michigan’s last 11 road games.

However, the total has gone under in six of the last eight head-to-head matchups and five of the last seven played between the sides in Madison.

20140117_Big_Ten_standingsFor a list of today’s College Basketball odds, click here.

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