Montana vs. Wisconsin Picks, Spread, and Review

Montana (25-6 SU/17-9-1 ATS) enters the postseason on a 14-game winning streak that culminated with an 85-66 win over Weber State in the Big Sky Conference Tournament championship game.

The Grizzlies are an experienced bunch with four starters back from last year’s 21-11 team that lost in the first round of the CBI Tournament. Will Cherry leads the team in scoring with 16 ppg and ranked fourth in the conference. Kareem Jamar (13.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.7 apg) had a solid all-around season, while Mathias Ward (11.1 ppg) rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers.

It doesn’t stop there though as Art Steward (9.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and Derek Selvig (9.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) also make solid contributions.

The early non-conference schedule wasn’t difficult, with the best win a 73-71 home victory over Long Beach State, while non-conference losses came against Colorado State, North Dakota State, SF, Oregon State and Nevada.

Wisconsin (24-9 SU/16-14 ATS) had a solid season, but it wasn’t without its ups and downs. The Badgers lost 65-52 to Michigan State in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tourney after knocking off Indiana 79-71 in the quarterfinals.

Wisconsin’s strength this season has been its staunch defense, as they held opponents to just 38.3 percent from the field and 28.3 percent from the three-point line, while putting up a mere 52.9 ppg, which leads the nation in scoring defense.

The Badgers’ stout defense compensated for the team’s lack of offense, which ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten in both scoring (63.9 ppg) and field goal percentage (42.4 percent).

Despite its offensive woes, UW still has an All-Big Ten First Team honoree on its side in Jordan Taylor, who averages 14.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 4.0 apg. Ryan Evans (10.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Jared Berggren (10.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg) also do their part, as do Josh Gasser (7.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg), Ben Brust (7.2 ppg) and Mike Bruesewitz (5.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg).

The Badgers have a cohesive first unit, as they have had the same starting lineup for all 33 games this season.

Montana is on a 15-5 ATS run in its last 2 games and 4-1 ATS as an underdog in NCAA Tournament games.The Grizzlies are also 13-5 ATS off a SU win and 6-2 ATS in neutral site games, as well as 12-4 ATS after a conference win. Wisconsin is 8-2 ATS against non-conference teams and 5-2 ATS in neutral site games, but the Badgers are just 7-12 ATS in Tournament games and 2-6 ATS as a favorite.

As mentioned, Montana is an experienced team and they have the talent to stay within the number in what figures to be a low scoring affair.

Take the points.

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