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    No. 12 James Madison vs. No. 5 Wisconsin: NCAA Tournament South Region March Madness Preview and Prediction

    A preview and prediction for James Madison vs. Wisconsin in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.


    James Madison vs. Wisconsin March Madness Preview and Prediction

    In the No. 12 vs. No. 5 matchup in the NCAA Tournament South Region, the James Madison Dukes face the Wisconsin Badgers in first-round action.

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    How to Watch James Madison vs. Wisconsin

    When: 9:40 pm ET on Friday, March 22nd

    Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York

    Watch: CBS

    Odds for James Madison vs. Wisconsin

    (odds current at time of publish)

    Spread: Wisconsin -5

    Total: 143.5

    DraftKings Betting Splits | Live College Basketball Odds | James Madison vs. Wisconsin Matchup

    South Region No. 12 James Madison Dukes

    The Dukes got themselves on the map with a road win over Michigan State in the season opener. Terrence Edwards Jr. and TJ Bickerstaff, two of the better players on this James Madison team, combined to score 45 in that contest. That one showed the world that this Dukes team can beat high-level teams, making them dangerous entering March Madness. They also went on to go 30-3 the rest of the season, so this has been a dominant basketball team all year. One thing that’s interesting about James Madison is that the team can really shoot the 3-ball, and the Dukes also defend it very well. Doing both of those things is important in today’s game. James Madison is also a top-35 team in both EFG% and EFG% defense. And the Dukes are good about avoiding turnovers offensively, and also forcing them defensively. Don’t sleep on this program.

    South Region No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers

    Wisconsin is one of the most experienced teams in the tournament, with a rotation filled with upperclassmen. Like most Badgers teams in the past, the group makes great decisions offensively. That’s why Wisconsin is a top-25 team in adjusted offensive efficiency, despite not being a team that shoots the 3 particularly well. It helps that the Badgers have a dynamic perimeter scorer in AJ Storr, who is a tremendous athlete and can also knock down outside shots. And guys like Chucky Hepburn and Tyler Wahl can chip in creating their own shots — while Max Klesmit serves as a marksman from the outside. The issue with the Badgers is they can still have long stretches where they struggle to score. And they tend to have issues defending teams with real firepower. Arizona blew the doors off Wisconsin in Tucson in December. But the Badgers are tough. Purdue found out the hard way in the Big Ten tournament.

    James Madison vs. Wisconsin Preview & Prediction

    The most popular upset pick of the first round in bracket pools and contests will be James Madison over Wisconsin. It’ll be a very popular moneyline upset pick as well. The Dukes won 31 games, including their season-opening win over Michigan State, and emerged from a decent mid-major conference as the Sun Belt Tournament champions, winning by 17, 5, and 20.

    It is worth noting that 22 of James Madison’s wins came in Quadrant 4 games, as they lost twice to Appalachian State, who wound up the No. 1 seed in the SBC Tourney and got upset by Arkansas State. James Madison does have the statistical profile, though, as they held opponents to just 28.6% on 3s and ranked in the top 50 in both 3P% and 2P% offense. They’re a top-50 team in TO% on both sides as well, which is usually an indicator of a team that could have NCAA Tournament success.

    Wisconsin put it together for a week in Minneapolis in the Big Ten Tournament, falling six points short to Illinois in a game where the Badgers had 1.278 points per possession. Prior to that, this was a team that went from 16-4 and 8-1 in league play to 19-12 and 11-9 in league play very, very quickly.

    The biggest knock against the Badgers is that they are not a physical team. James Madison will grind. They will pressure you, as I mentioned with their TO% stats. They also went 8-2 in close games (games decided by six or fewer points), so they’re okay with being in a battle. The strength of schedule difference is about as big as it gets here, so the Badgers and their numbers may be a bit truer to form.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if JMU wins. I wouldn’t be shocked if Wisconsin wins and covers. But, this is the quintessential 12/5 game that gets everybody talking and it should be a good one.

    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke is the Managing Editor of VSiN.com and has spent well over a decade in the sports betting content creation space. He has been with VSiN since 2021 and covers a wide range of sports, along with hosting the VSiN Daily Baseball Bets podcast.

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