No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers at Georgia Tech Preview

The No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers (5-1) take on Georgia Tech (5-1) tonight in Atlanta in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The Badgers are coming off of a Maui Invitational Tournament championship last week.

UW is 11-11 all-time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, taking down Louisville last season. However, the Badgers have lost their last two road games in the challenge.

Wisconsin and Georgia Tech are meeting for just the third time in school history and for the first time since the 2001 Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The all-time series is tied 1-1.

Tipoff is set for 8:15 PM (Central Time) and will be nationally televised on ESPN2. UW is a 3 1/2 point favorite, per Bovada, as I write this.

Georgia Tech’s Michael Devoe is the nation’s fourth leading scorer entering today averaging 23.4 points per game.

Wisconsin is riding high right now after three consecutive wins in Las Vegas in the Maui Invitational, including two double-digit come from behind wins.

UW will need to defend the 3-point line if they’re going to make it four wins in a row. Through six games, UW has been decent in that department, allowing opponents to shoot just 31.8 percent from beyond the arc, but Georgia Tech is shooting 41.1 percent from 3-point range which ranks No. 16 nationally.

This matchup will be Georgia Tech’s first game against an opponent ranked inside the KenPom top 120. Georgia Tech lost to Miami (OH) and needed to rally from down 12 to beat Georgia Southern.

This is the first true road game for Wisconsin, however. If you have watched UW play this season, they have clearly bought in and is very connected. Those battles against quality opponents, especially in Las Vegas, will pay off.

This has felt like a classic Bo Ryan coached team in several different areas. Wisconsin is shooting 83.0 percent at the free throw line, they’ve made more free throws (88) than opponents have attempted (79). The Badgers have committed just nine turnovers per game and is a +4.5 rebounding per outing. Wisconsin ranks No. 7 in KenPom in defensive efficiency and UW averages better than 1.0 points per possession despite shooting 39.5 percent from the field as a team.

If the Badgers carry these into tonight’s game against a Georgia Tech team that doesn’t get to the foul line much and has been turnover (13 turnovers per game) and foul (16 fouls per game) prone, then Wisconsin will be in good shape to win.

Prediction:

Wisconsin 69, Georgia Tech 64.

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