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Virginia Cavaliers vs. Wisconsin Badgers Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/4/13

Wisconsin Badgers (8-0) at Virginia Cavaliers (7-1)

College Basketball: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm (John Paul Jones Arena)

The Line: Virginia Cavaliers -3 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN2

The Wisconsin Badgers travel to Virginia to play the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Wisconsin improved to 8-0 on the year after beating West Virginia 70-63 in the Cancun Challenge championship game last week. The Badgers shot over 40% from the field and from the three-point line. Sophomore F Sam Dekker led the way for Wisconsin with 21 points and 11 rebounds. With 15 assists, the Badgers played team ball and four players score in double figures. Senior G Ben Brust scored 16 points, junior G Josh Gasser had 11, and junior F Frank Kaminsky had 10 points for Wisconsin. The Badgers made 16 of 17 free throw attempts and knocked down 11 three-pointers in the win. On the year, Wisconsin has been an offensive juggernaut scoring 76.8 points per game. The Badgers are off to their best start in 20 seasons, with a huge assist from their three starting guards. Brust, junior Traevon Jackson, and Gasser all play their role, while Dekker and Kaminsky have dominated down low. Brust actually leads the team in three-pointers and rebounding, 5.8 per game, which is an example of Coach Ryan’s emphasis of having all five players on the floor being able to play every position. The guards are able to rebound and the big guys have the ability to shoo the three ball. Wisconsin is allowing 66.2 points per game on the defensive end of the floor, which will likely improve as the season moves on.

Virginia Cavaliers vs. Wisconsin Badgers Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/4/13

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Cavaliers of Virginia improved to 7-1 on the year after beating Missouri State in the Corpus Christi Challenge championship game. Virginia shot 56.6% from the field and 39.1% from behind the arc. Sophomore G Justin Anderson and sophomore F Mike Tobey both came off the bench to score a combined 37 points for the Cavaliers. Senior G Joe Harris and sophomore G Malcolm had 15 and 13 points in their starting roles, while Sophomore F Anthony Gill had 8 points and 8 rebounds in the win. Harris led the Cavaliers with 22 points over Wisconsin last year and is on a roll coming into this year’s matchup, going 11 of 12 from three-point range over the last three games while averaging 16.7 points. The Cavaliers win by playing great defense from start to finish, holding six of their 8 opponents to less than 57 points. The toughest opponent the Cavaliers have faced this year was VCU, who they lost to by 3 points at home. Virginia will have their work cut out for them on Wednesday when they face an explosive offense.

This should be one of the best games in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Wisconsin will try to avenge last season’s 60-54 home loss to Virginia. Brust had a team-high 15 points but was 6 of 16 from the field as Wisconsin shot 38.2% from the field in the loss. Led by Coach Tony Bennett, a former assistant under Ryan, the Cavaliers are allowing 53.5 points per game to rank among the national leaders. So this will be a battle between two teams that do two things extremely well, Wisconsin is efficient offensively while Virginia has a stout defense. I think this will come down to the final few possessions, so I’m going to hesitantly side with Wisconsin getting the points.

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Wisconsin +3

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