The 2023 National Invitational Tournament (“NIT”) continues on Tuesday as the field moves into the quarterfinals. Wisconsin is the only one Big Ten team left in the NIT and will travel to face Oregon in an intriguing matchup.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 1 Oregon Ducks
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET (ESPN/ESPN+)
- KenPom Spread: Oregon by 6
Obviously, this season hasn’t been what Badger fans were hoping for when things began last fall. Wisconsin entered the season as the reigning Big Ten champions and fans were hoping the team could pick off where it left off and grab some more hardware. Unfortunately, that never panned out, as the Badgers limped through large portions of conference play and fell well short of making the NCAA Tournament.
The good news is Wisconsin has responded well to the adversity of missing the Big Dance. The Badgers opened NIT play at home and scored two solid victories. The first was a blowout win over Bradley and the second came against a hot Liberty team on Sunday afternoon. The Flames entered the game at 27-8 overall and were coming off a win over Villanova, but Wisconsin proved to be too much.
However, the Badgers now face their toughest test of NIT play, as the team heads west for a matchup with Oregon. The Ducks were another squad hoping for more when the season began, but fell short in key portions of conference play. Oregon now finds itself as a one seed in the NIT and hosting this quarterfinal matchup. The team enters the game with a 21-14 overall record, though Oregon has won six of its last seven games.
The matchup to watch in this one will be upfront. Nate Bittle has been playing for the Ducks there in NIT play with N’Faly Dante sitting out. However, Bittle has been great and scored double-digits in both NIT wins. Oregon is also statistically one of the nation’s better offensive rebounding units, so Wisconsin will have its hands full. The Badgers have been a horrifically bad offensive rebounding team, but a decent defensive rebounding group. The pressure will be on Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl to hold their own.
Wisconsin’s defense could also have a good showing here. Oregon’s offense has been inconsistent this season and only scored 0.94 points per possession in the team’s latest NIT win. If the Badgers show up and defend, they have a shot to slow down Oregon’s production considerably, especially without Dante, who accounted for a significant portion of Oregon’s offensive production during the season.
Additionally, it’s important to note the significance of the road atmosphere here. Wisconsin will not only be traveling across the country (and multiple time zones) to play this game on a relatively short turnaround, but the game is going to be played at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. While that’s not as late as many tips you see on the west coast, it’s likely going to be an advantage for the Ducks. It’s an odd thing Wisconsin doesn’t experience too often. Don’t be surprised if the team looks uncomfortable.
All told, Wisconsin projects well in this one. The advanced stats like Oregon, but a lot of that accounts for Dante, who’s not expected to play. If the Badgers play well defensively, this should be a win.
- Pick: Wisconsin
Picks Record: 94-42-0