Wisconsin would have went into this game as a heavy favorite had they been playing the game at American University. When you throw in the fact that the game is being played only a few miles from Wisonsin’s campus, you have a true David and Goliath matchup. This appears to be one of if not the strongest team in Bo Ryan’s tenure at Wisconsin. They are in his tradition of hard-nosed defensive teams that have long/patient possessions on offense. American University has won 5 of their last 6 games and plays at a similar pace. This game will likely be a low scoring game that will be won by the team who dominates the boards.
American University has one major factor that will be working in their favor and could result in a potential upset win and that factor is that they run a Princeton offense. The Princeton offense has been the nemesis for many higher seeds throughout the history of the tournament and is always a great equalizer to use against bigger/more aggressive teams. The problem for American is that while Wisconsin is certainly much bigger, they aren’t an overly aggressive team on defense. They focus more on keeping the offense in front of them, contesting the shot, and then securing the rebound. Leading scorer Jesse Reed is the most indispensable player on the roster as he has played the full 40 minutes over their last 5 games. If he is in foul trouble or plays poorly American has no chance at pulling off a huge upset. Senior Tony Wroblicky is a leader who averages 12 points and slightly over 7 rebounds a game. His interior presence will be needed more than ever against a tough Wisconsin front line.
Wisconsin is the most balanced team in the country. There is no star player and 8 players average over 12 minutes per game. Frank Kaminsky averages just under 14 points per game with slightly over 6 rebounds. Ben Brust and Sam Dekker have nearly identical 12.7 and 12.9 points per game averages respectively while Dekker is the stronger rebounder at 6.2 per game. Point guard Traevon Jackson averages 10 points and 4 assists per game and is the floor leader. They will all have to take advantage of their superior size and strength. They will also have an advantage in being the more athletic team which is something they will not be used too. Wisconsin is one of those teams that are labeled as a sleeper or an all-out favorite every year and they consistently disappoint. With a favorable draw in what is arguably the weakest region this is a golden opportunity to take advantage of a situation and advance to a final four and perhaps even further. Anything less than an appearance in the elite 8 would be considered a disappointment.
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