That’s right, Farm Clubber’s, I’m back, been checking out PartyCasino.com, which brought out my inner gambler, and now it is time to write about some hoops. I know we’re almost halfway through the college basketball season, but the Bowl Season really took a lot out of me – physically, mentally, and financially. It was not the best postseason, but I’m hoping to make it up on the hard court. What better way to start than with a mid-week contest between two top ten teams?!
Thursday, January 17th @ 7 pm EST
#5 Michigan Wolverines (16-1) @ #9 Minnesota Golden Gophers (15-2); Minn -3 (-110), O/U 139.5
While I haven’t been able to watch much basketball this season, I can see a few things right off the bat. First, John Beilein’s system demands solid guard play from guys that can hit the 3.
Well, he’s built this program in his image and his players have matured.
The Wolverines have 4 players averaging 12+ points per game, and those 4 players (Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Nik Stauskas, and Glenn Robinson III) are shooting a combined 42% from downtown.
That’s some staggering production from your top scorers, and it is no wonder that they are among the top teams in the nation this year.
As for the Golden Gophers, it seems that Tubby Smith has finally established his team as a championship contender in the B1G Conference.
Sure, he’s taken Minnesota to the tournament a couple of years during his tenure, but it feels like this is the first time Tubby has his players completely buying into his system.
Enough about the coach, Minnesota has a trio of guards of their own in Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, and Joe Coleman as all three are averaging 11+ ppg.
On the surface, this looks like a game that will come down the guards, and to a certain extent it will. However, I think that coaching and rebounding will be the most important battles in this game.
I would give a slight edge to the Golden Gophers in terms of coaching. I’m not trying to downplay John Beilein and the success he has with his system, but Tubby has a ring.
Another aspect of the game, which goes hand in hand with shooting the 3, is offensive rebounding. If the shots aren’t falling, you need a big guy to clean up the mess. Unfortunately, Michigan doesn’t have a single player averaging over 6 rebounds per game.
While Minnesota isn’t exactly known for their rebounding prowess, they do have Trevor Mbakwe at forward, who is averaging close to a double-double a game (9.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg). If Mbakwe can get physical on the defensive glass, I like the Gophers to take this one at home.
- Both teams are coming from losses after very long winning streaks (Mich: 16 games, Minn: 11 games). This game will have a substantial impact at the top of the B1G Conference standings.
- Minnesota and Michigan each like to light up the scoreboard averaging 76 and 79 ppg, respectively.
- Michigan is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 road games
- Minnesota is 8-0 in their last 8 B1G Conference games
- The Over is 7-1 in the last 8 match-ups between these two teams
Picks: Minnesota -3 (-110) for 3 units; Over 139.5 (-110) for 2 units