Baylor’s Adam Flagler plays against Hartford during the second half of a college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium Friday, March 19, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
- #9 Wisconsin battles #1 Baylor on Sunday, March 21st in the second round of the NCAA tournament
- The Badgers and Bears both won their respective opening-round matchups in convincing fashion
- The odds for the game, as well as matchup analysis and pick, can be found in the article below
We all expected #1 Baylor to make mincemeat of #16 Hartford. Some of us were probably less expectant of #9 Wisconsin doing the same thing to #8 North Carolina, and yet that happened.
Now, on Sunday, March 21 at 2:40pm ET, Baylor and Wisconsin will see what they can do against each other in March Madness’s round of 32. Baylor, a winner in all but two games this year, sits as a six-point favorite:
Wisconsin vs Baylor Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Wisconsin||+6 (-110)||+220||Over 138 (-110)|
|Baylor||-6 (-110)||-270||Under 138 (-110)|
Odds as of March 20th.
How They’ve Fared Recently
Baylor shrugged off a Big 12 tournament semifinal loss by absolutely dominating Hartford from the jump on Friday. The Bears won 79-55, which meant they actually failed to cover the 25.5-point spread, but a straight up victory was never in doubt.
The Bears went on two huge runs (23-4 and 10-0) to build a lead that climbed to 16 at half and never fell below that again. It wasn’t the best day for NCAA Division I’s best three-point shooting team (41.4%), but a 33% clip on 33 attempts was plenty to get the job done.
They also dominated the offensive glass (14 rebounds), as they typically do (fourth in D-I in offensive rebound rate). And of course the defense, ranked third in D-I in turnover rate, showed up to force 24 turnovers. Dominance all around.
Wisconsin was true to its form as a mostly mistake-free team, producing just seven turnovers against North Carolina. In an 85-62 win — obliterating their two-point underdog status — the Badgers shot the lights out from three (13-of-27, 48.1%).
The Badgers pride themselves on stout defense, and that showed up in the form of North Carolina’s 38.5% shooting from the field. The Tar Heels never led in this game.
Baylor is 15-10 against the spread this year, but they’ve failed to cover in four of their past five games. To be fair, that’s partially because oddsmakers have such great respect for Baylor, and the lowest spread in that span was 7.5 points.
FEED THE BEAST 💪@JonathanTchamwa ⚡️#SicEm 🐻 | #TimeIsNow 🏀 pic.twitter.com/X4dmBwQ8iX
— Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB) March 19, 2021
Wisconsin is 13-15-2 ATS this year and has been similarly mediocre of late, going 3-4-1 in its past eight. As underdogs, though, the Badgers’ ATS record in the past few weeks is 2-1-1.
The over is 6-1 recently for Baylor, while the over is 5-1 recently for Wisconsin.
We’ve mentioned it already, and it’s a very common X-factor in tournament games: the three-point shot. Baylor takes and makes a lot of threes, but can Wisconsin keep up after its torrid deep-shooting pace on Friday?
The Badgers are a good three-point shooting team (36.5%, 60th in D-I), but Baylor is in a class of its own. And since Wisconsin is only mediocre at closing out to defend the three (133rd in three-point percentage allowed), this should be a good day for Bears shooters.
UNC can’t stop Brad Davison 😯
He has 27 PTS | 5-7 3PM pic.twitter.com/th1wJCeEv9
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 20, 2021
A secondary X-factor is the turnover battle, particularly Baylor’s ability to force them and Wisconsin’s ability to prevent them. Both teams rank third in D-I in those respective categories.
Ultimately, we like Baylor to cover because they’ve flashed a lot of dominance this season and a six-point buffer isn’t much against a team with the type of firepower the Bears possess. Wisconsin will try, though, which is why we like the over as well.
Pick: Baylor -6 (-110); Over 138 (-110)
Jordan Horrobin is a sports journalist whose MLB, NHL, NFL and NCAA work has appeared in outlets such as The Athletic, MLB.com, the Detroit Free Press and more. He is currently based in Toronto, also working as a contributor for Forbes.com and a freelance editor for Sportsnet.