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Bradley takes on Wisconsin in the NIT Tournament tonight. What should you expect in this first-round NIT matchup? Ben Rajavuori breaks the game down.
ANALYSIS

Wisconsin vs. Bradley Prediction: What To Expect in this First Round NIT Matchup

The Bradley Braves will travel to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers in the first round of the NIT Tournament. Let's break down this NIT game.

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Wisconsin vs. Bradley Start Time and Where to Watch

  • Date: March 14, 2023
  • Start Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Where to Watch: ESPN, ESPN+

Click here for Wisconsin vs. Bradley odds

Wisconsin vs. Bradley Prediction

Bradley ended their season with a heartbreaking loss in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship game to Drake, missing out on a chance to compete in the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, Wisconsin missed out on the Big Dance after an up-and-down season. Despite a strong start, they went 9-11 in conference play. They were eliminated in the first round of the conference tournament by Ohio State, who made a cinderella run and was the first 13-seed ever to make the Big 10 semifinals. Despite Bradley holding the higher NET rankings, Wisconsin is the -3 favorite in this game.

Despite the up-and-down season, I like Wisconsin in the NIT. The Badgers have a solid defense that forces opponents to take difficult shots, often late in the shot clock. Additionally, they rarely turn the ball over, ranking fourth in the nation in offensive turnover percentage. Bradley, on the other hand, has relied on their defense for much of the season, as their offense has been inconsistent (Badgers have been the same).

It's easy to see that Bradley has a better record, but these two teams have had vastly different schedules throughout the season. Wisconsin has played a tough schedule, ranking 12th in the country in strength of schedule, while Bradley has faced a weaker slate, ranking 177th. Wisconsin has only played seven games outside of quad one and quad two, according to KenPom rankings, winning six of them. The lone loss was against Wake Forest at home. Bradley only played nine games during the regular season inside quadrants one and two.

In this game, because it is the first round of the NIT, the higher-seeded Wisconsin will have the advantage of playing at home, where they have been strong this season. Considering their defensive power and low turnover rate, I expect Wisconsin to come out strong and lead the first half comfortably. Bradley's loss to Drake in the conference tournament championship game could take a toll on their morale and performance, giving Wisconsin an opportunity to capitalize.

Wisconsin's offense has struggled this season, but they have the potential to explode in the first half of this game. They have several players who can step up and make a difference, including sophomore guard Chucky Hepburn, who leads the team in scoring with 12.0 points per game. Additionally, the Badgers have Steven Crowl, averaging 11.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

Tyler Wahl brings veteran experience and 11.6 points per game as well. Freshman Connor Essiegian has been a nice surprise for the Badgers, averaging 11.9 points per game. The Badgers have four players averaging double digits per game, and they will need these players to step up and take advantage of Bradley's defense.

In contrast, Bradley's offense has been decent but not exceptional. They rank 60th in effective field goal percentage, shooting 35.6% from 3-point range and 52.7% from inside the arc. They have struggled from the free-throw line, ranking 327th in the nation in free-throw percentage. To beat Wisconsin, they will need to step up their shooting and take advantage of the Badgers' inconsistencies on offense.

The key to this game will be Wisconsin's defense, which has been one of the best in the country this season. They will need to continue to force Bradley into difficult shots and limit their scoring opportunities. I believe they can do and will win against Bradley in this NIT matchup. Additionally, they will have the advantage of playing at home, where they have been strong this season. Looking at the roster up and down, Wisconsin has more talent at almost every position and should be ahead at the break.

Wisconsin vs. Bradley Pick

2 Unit Pick: Wisconsin First Half ML @ (-140) Bet $100 to collect $342 FanDuel has the best odds; click here to bet

Article Author

NCAABBoxing/MMAMLBNHL

Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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