James Madison @ Wisconsin 3/22/24 Free Pick, NCAAB Odds, NCAAB Predictions

James Madison (31-3) at Wisconsin (22-13)

Game Info: Friday, March 22nd, 2024 at  9:40 p.m. EST (Barclays Center)

Betting Odds: James Madison (+180) - Over/Under (145.5)

Pick: James Madison (+180)

This game on Friday night between James Madison and Wisconsin will be one of the most intriguing contests of the second night of the opening round of the NCAA tournament. As arguably the top mid-major in the country on a formidable Wisconsin team, and what should be an incredible game at the Barclays Center to kick off the nightcap of the final evening of the first round. James Madison has made plenty of noise throughout the season and so has Wisconsin and these two teams should go back-and-forth all the way down to the final buzzer here on Friday night as they look to advance to the first weekend of the NCAA tournament and book their ticket to the second round on Sunday.

James Madison comes into this game with one of the best records in the country and they will look to prove the doubters wrong with a victory here on Friday night. Plenty of people think they were undervalued by the committee, but plenty of people also look at James Madison as an overrated, mid-major who coasted on an easy schedule. However, if you remember correctly, it was the same James Madison team that beat Michigan State in the opening game of the season to put themselves on the map. Now they will look to take down another Big Ten conference opponent when they face off with Wisconsin here in this one as they look to advance of the weekend and start their Cinderella run in solid fashion. 

They come into this game with 31 victories, through their first 34 games of the season and a conference title to their name as well. They currently have one of the longest active win streaks in the country having picked up 13 victories in a row coming into this first round NCAA tournament matchup. They are hard to stop on the offensive end of the court putting up nearly 85 points per game this season, which has led to so much of their success throughout the year. They will look to put up a spectacular performance against a tough Wisconsin defense here on Friday night, as James Madison looks to show the world that they belong in the NCAA tournament and deserve to be talked about as a legitimate contender.

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Wisconsin put together a respectable résumé and they earned themselves a bid to the NCAA tournament. Now they will look to prove that they belong and they draw a daunting task as they will play one of the best teams in the country to open up their NCAA tournament run. They will look to hand James Madison only their fourth loss of the season and send them home early while advancing to the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament themselves. Wisconsin has faced a formidable schedule all season long, playing in one of the toughest conferences in the country and they have picked up some solid non conference wins along the way as well. 

As they picked up a fantastic win against in-state rival Marquette early on in the regular season that really set the tone for this Wisconsin program. Wisconsin finished the year with 22 victories through their first 35 games of the season and they will look to grab victory number 23 here on Friday night. They have got the job done with a mix of stupendous, offensively and solid lockdown defensively which has led them to the NCAA tournament. Now they will look to bring that play to this very formidable James Madison team. They will need to find a way to slow down one of the hottest offenses in the country here on Friday night in New York City if they want to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament. 

Betting trends to consider in this matchup:

- James Madison is 2-1 as an underdog 

- James Madison is 1-0 against Big Ten teams 

- James Madison is 12-0 out of conference 

I expect this to be a solid back-and-forth game between two quality teams in the opening round of the tournament on Friday night. In the end I look for the upset to happen as I look for James Madison to Wisconsin out of the tournament with an incredible offensive performance. A lot of people are overlooking James Madison, but they certainly have the potential to make it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament if they can remain healthy and consistent throughout their first set of tournament games. That is exactly what I expect out of this game on Friday night as I look for James Madison to pull off the shocking, but not so shocking upset of Wisconsin here in this one. 

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