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Iowa State vs Wisconsin Midwest Region Picks: Slow Tempo on Both Sides Creates Value

After a first-half scare against Colgate in Round 1, Wisconsin looks to play a more complete game against Iowa State who is coming off an upset over LSU. We like the Badgers covering the spread — as our March Madness picks explain.

Last Updated: Mar 20, 2022 3:00 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

The No. 11 seed Iowa State Cyclones pulled off a March Madness upset and move on to face the Wisconsin Badgers in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

College basketball betting lines opened with the No. 3 seed Badgers as 3-point favorites but soon shifted to -4.5 for this Midwest region showdown.

Here are our free March Madness picks and predictions for New Mexico State vs. Arkansas on March 19. 

Iowa State vs Wisconsin odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

This line hit the board with the Badgers installed as 3-point favorites with the Over/Under at 124.5. Money quickly came in on Wisconsin and the Over, shifting the line to -4.5 and moving the total up to 126 by 5 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

Iowa State vs Wisconsin predictions

Predictions made on 3/19/2022 at 6 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Iowa State vs Wisconsin game info

Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Date: Sunday, March 20, 2022
Tip-off: 6:10 p.m. ET

Iowa State vs Wisconsin betting preview


Iowa State: No injuries to report.
Wisconsin: Lorne Bowman II G (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 6-1 in the Cyclones last seven games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600. Find more NCAA betting trends for Iowa State vs. Wisconsin.

Iowa State vs Wisconsin picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

The Cyclones held on for a 59-54 win as 3-point pups against the LSU Tigers on Friday night. Plenty of people saw that upset coming with the Tigers having fired their head coach just days before the tournament, but yours truly faded the Cyclones due to how atrocious their offense has been lately.

To be fair it has been putrid with the Cyclones having dropped 11 of their previous 18 entering the NCAA Tournament, and averaging just 62 points per game since the start of conference play. 

One specific area that Iowa State struggled in was taking care of the ball with the Cyclones ranking outside the Top 300 in turnovers per offensive play. With the Tigers leading the country in steals, I assumed they would feast on that sloppy ball-handling.

However, this is March where madness reigns supreme and crushes the souls of bettors and bracket makers alike. The Cyclones ended up winning the turnover battle against LSU by a plus-9 margin. 

Don't expect lightning to strike twice on Sunday with Iowa State taking on a Wisconsin team that has the lowest turnover rate in the nation and turned the ball over just five times in a 67-60 win against Colgate in the first round. The Badgers had trouble separating from Colgate for much of the game but their tight defense and clutch shooting prevailed in crunch time. 

The Badgers don't always knock down their shots but they have an explosive scorer in Johnny Davis (19.8 ppg), rarely cough the ball up, and are very tough and disciplined defensively. There's a reason this Wisconsin squad finished the regular season with the best record in the Big Ten, and it should feel right at home with this game taking place at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. 

Look for the Badgers to shut down the Cyclones' subpar offense and take them on the spread. 

Prediction: Wisconsin -4.5 (-110)

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Over/Under analysis

We might have missed by fading Iowa State on Friday but at least we cashed the Under. Despite forcing 19 turnovers the Cyclones couldn't convert them into buckets on the other end and ended up with just 59 points on 36% shooting. In addition, they benefited from a massive outlier of a performance from guard Tyrese Hunter who drained 7-11 shots from beyond the arc.

Considering that Hunter had connected on a total of six treys in his last five games and previously had a 24.8 3PT% on the season, we don't see that happening again. Especially against a Wisconsin team that holds foes to just 66.3 PPG and limited sharp-shooting Colgate to 60 points in the opening round. 

As bad as the Cyclones are offensively, they are solid on the defensive end where they rank 20th in the country in scoring defense with 62.7 ppg allowed. Now they take on a Wisconsin offense that even with the high-scoring Davis, has scored 70 points or fewer in 10 of its last 13 games.

Factor in the methodical pace of these schools, with Iowa State and Wisconsin both sitting outside the Top 200 in average length of possession, and we're taking the Under. 

Prediction: Under 126 (-110)

Best bet

If we haven't already made it clear, this is a brutal Iowa State offense that apparently can't even crack 60 points when it cuts down on its turnovers and catches fire from deep. The Cyclones rank just 187th in the country with a miserable 49.8 eFG%, get bullied on the glass, and turn the ball over way too much — sometimes without even being pressured.

ISU has been held below 45 points four times within the last two months. We don't see the Cyclones being able to keep up with the Badgers who at least take care of the ball, hit their free throws, and have an elite scoring option in Davis.

We obviously liked this number a whole lot better when it hit the board at -3 but we're still taking it at -4.5.

Pick: Wisconsin -4.5 (-11)

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