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James Madison vs. Wisconsin 2024 March Madness Odds and Preview

By Hank Blaine

At least one No. 12 seed upsets a No. 5 seed in nearly every NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, and this writer believes that No. 12 James Madison of the Sun Belt has a real shot to beat No. 5 Wisconsin of the Big Ten in first-round action Friday night from Brooklyn.

Wisconsin and James Madison will meet for the first time in program history. Friday’s winner will face the winner between No. 4 seed Duke and No. 13 seed Vermont in the second round on Sunday.

James Madison Dukes vs. Wisconsin Badgers 2024 March Madness First Round Game Information

Why Bet on the James Madison Dukes?

James Madison is a stellar 31-3 this season yet only finished second in the Sun Belt regular-season standings behind Appalachian State. However, the Dukes rolled to the conference tournament title with a 91-71 rout of Arkansas State way back on March 11. The 91 points were the most for JMU in a conference title game ever, besting its previous record of 77 when the Dukes won on a buzzer beater in 1994.

It was JMU’s fifth conference title in program history and its first in exactly 11 years to the day when it claimed the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association crown. The Dukes advanced to their sixth NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and the eighth overall at any division, dating back to 1974.

Xavier Brown finished with career highs of 21 points, all in the first half, and 5-of-6 from three-point range while cleaning up the glass with a career-best 10 rebounds. Terrence Edwards Jr. turned in a big second half to finish with 19 points, while Jaylen Carey was a force off the bench, tallying 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Noah Freidel scored all of his 12 points in the second half to aid four double-figure scorers.

Freidel was named the Sun Belt Championship Most Outstanding Performer, while Edwards Jr. joined him on the All-Tournament Team. Edwards was the Sun Belt Player of the Year in the regular season and is averaging 17.4 points per game to go with 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

The Dukes enter the NCAA Tournament tied for the most wins in America, matching UConn’s 31-3 mark, as well as a nation-leading 13-game active win streak. JMU also started the season on a 14-game win streak. The Dukes are coached by Mark Byington, who’s in his fourth year at the helm. He will be making his NCAA Championship debut as a full-time coach and holds a career 219-136 record (.617) as a head coach. Since taking over the JMU program in 2020, he’s guided the Dukes to an 81-35 record (.698).

JMU averages 84.4 points per game, which ranks ninth nationally, and is eighth in the Division I with a +15.2 scoring margin. The Dukes also rank fifth around the country in three-point percentage defense (.288), 14th in turnover margin (+3.7) and 16th in steals per game (9.0).

Why Bet on the Wisconsin Badgers?

Wisconsin (22-13) was fifth in the Big Ten regular-season standings and then reached the conference tournament title game – upsetting regular-season champion Purdue in the semifinals on a last-second shot – before losing to Illinois by six.

AJ Storr and Chucky Hepburn were each named to the 2024 Big Ten All-Tournament Team, making Wisconsin the only team with multiple players selected. Storr averaged 22.5 points in four games during the tournament, which included a career high 30 points against Northwestern. As a result, Storr now holds the record for the most points scored by a Badger in a single Big Ten tournament. The sophomore shot impressive 44.3 percent (10-for-26) from 3-point range. Hepburn averaged 17.3 points and 5.7 assists in three games played. He also eclipsed 1,000 career points at Wisconsin in the championship game.

The Badgers are averaging 75.1 ppg this season, which would be the team’s highest scoring mark since averaging 77.9 ppg in 1993-94. UW is 17-0 this season when holding opponents to 70 or fewer points. The Badgers are 14-2 when holding foes below 45% FG Pct. leads the Badgers scoring 16.9 points per game, tallying in double figures in 33 of 35 games and at least 20 points 11 times.  Wisconsin’s defensive rebounding percentage (75.6%) ranks 17th-best in the NCAA.

The Badgers are making their 27th trip to the Dance overall. Wisconsin is one of only five schools to appear in 23 of the last 25 NCAA tournaments, joining Gonzaga (25), Kansas (25), Michigan State (25) and Duke (24). UW is 40-25 all-time in the NCAA tournament, reaching four Final Fours and 10 Sweet 16s. The Badgers have made the Sweet 16 in six of the last 12 NCAA tournaments, reaching the NCAA tournament’s second weekend in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 during that stretch.

James Madison vs. Wisconsin Atlantic Betting Trends

  • JMU is 2-4 ATS in the last 6 games.
  • Dukes are 10-0 SU in its last 10 games.
  • The total went over in 5 of James Madison’s last 6 games.
  • Wisconsin is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 games.
  • Badgers are 4-2 SU in its last 6 games.
  • The total went over in 9 of Wisconsin’s last 10 games.

James Madison vs. Wisconsin Expert Prediction

JMU takes the win on Friday night and heads into the Second Round.

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This is just one of the many sports betting guides that you can read here at Nitrobetting news. Stay tuned for more 2024 March Madness Tournament previews and articles, and don’t forget to check out the latest college basketball odds on our online Crypto sportsbook.

*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

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