NCAA March Madness: Northwestern Wildcats vs. Boise State Broncos betting preview, odds and predictions
In the 7 vs. 10 matchup in the West region of the 2023 NCAA tournament, the Northwestern Wildcats face the Boise State Broncos with a spot in the Round of 32 on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs.
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How to watch Northwestern vs. Boise State
When: Thursday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Where: Sacramento, California
Odds for Northwestern vs. Boise State
Spread: Boise State -1
(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)
Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook
West Region No. 7 Seed Northwestern Wildcats
Northwestern is exactly the type of team that you don’t want to face in March Madness. The Wildcats are outstanding on the defensive end, but they also happen to have some offensive juice in the backcourt. Boo Buie had 13 games in which he scored at least 20 points for Northwestern during the regular season, and he’s the type of guard that can single-handedly win a tournament game when he gets it going. Chase Audige is another good guard for this Wildcats team, but the biggest question mark for Chris Collins’ team is the depth. Outside of Buie and Audige, will anybody step up and have a moment throughout this tournament?
West Region No. 10 Seed Boise State Broncos
Boise State was on the bubble all year long, but that really does a disservice to what the Broncos accomplished this season. This Broncos team is as good as it gets on the defensive end of the floor, and the group did earn big wins over the San Diego State Aztecs and Nevada Wolf Pack this year. Those are two very good basketball teams, and it shows that the Broncos are going to be a tough out in March. Boise State also has the ability to light it up occasionally, especially when guard Max Rice is shooting well. Be careful counting this team out because it wasn’t atop the Mountain West Conference. A legitimate argument can be made that it’s a stronger conference than the ACC at this point.
Northwestern vs. Boise State matchup analysis
The Mountain West Conference was viewed in a favorable light by the selection committee. Utah State was a firm 10 seed. Nevada got into the First Four game. Boise State got a decent draw. This line opened with Boise State favored and swung towards Northwestern, but the Wildcats are not a good offensive team at all. The Purple Cats rank 276th in 3P% (32.1%) and 317th in 2P% (46.5%). They also struggle to get inside and take a 3-pointer over 41% of the time.
However, where Northwestern excels is on the defensive end. Opponents are only shooting 46.6% on 2s, which ranks 38th in the nation. The Wildcats also play a slow brand of basketball trying to keep from getting exposed about their low shooting numbers. Boise State doesn’t mind playing a slow game and has the edge in offensive efficiency, but they, too, are dependent on 3s. The Broncos are shooting 36.4% and take a 3 over 38% of the time.
Because neither team gets to the rim at a high rate, this is going to be a 3-point contest kind of game. Those are really hard to bet because of the inherent variance of shooting 3s. Boise State defended them better and shot them better, but Northwestern was much more adept at forcing turnovers. If the Wildcats are able to take some extra possessions and take those shot attempts away from the Broncos, it increases the pressure on them to make shots when they are able to put them up.
It makes sense that this is a close line and that we’re seeing some opinions on both sides. It was a down year for the Big Ten, but that is still viewed as a better conference than the Mountain West. Northwestern also managed to go 7-6 in Quadrant I games, while Boise State was 3-5.
Here’s the catch: four of those six losses in Quad I games have come in the last month for Northwestern, so they’re not in great form as they hit the dance floor.
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