Wisconsin opened as a 1.5-point underdog to Notre Dame in the Sweet 16, according to NCAA tournament odds compiled by OddsShark. A large number of sportsbooks on OddsShark have one-point lines, with a handful calling it even at this point.
The line is largely as expected, considering Wisconsin's status as a No. 7 seed that came in to the tournament following an ugly loss to Nebraska in the Big Ten tourney. The Badgers, of course, shook off Pitt despite a somewhat rough outing before Sunday night's captivating win over Xavier at the buzzer.
Notre Dame defeated Michigan in the opening round and most recently beat Stephen F. Austin with a late tip-in Sunday afternoon. For more on the Fighting Irish, check out Kyle Vos's first-look preview of the game.
Notre Dame's up-and-down postseason performance has been a microcosm of the team's season. The Irish won nine of its first 13 conference games, including impressive wins over North Carolina, Louisville and Duke before stumbling to the finish line. Notre Dame then lost four of its final seven games with three of those losses coming by 18 or more points; the most notable being a head-scratching, 21-point loss to Florida State at the end of February.
The Irish's inconsistent play comes as a bit of a surprise as it returned five of its seven main rotational players from a team that made the Elite 8 the year before. Possessing another short rotation this season, Notre Dame is led by senior big man Zach Auguste and junior point guard Demetrius Jackson. The big-bodied Auguste averaged a double-double with over 14 points and nearly 11 rebounds per game -- 3.5 coming on the offensive end. Despite largely playing below the rim, Auguste has been prone to foul trouble over the course of his career. The winner of the position battle between Ethan Happ and Auguste will go a long way in deciding the game on Friday.
Wisconsin and Notre Dame will tip off Friday at 6:27 p.m. CT on TBS.