Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:59 PM
Michigan at Minnesota
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All eyes will be on The Barn tonight as Minnesota plays host to Michigan in a revenge game. Michigan (23-3 straight up, 14-12 against the spread) as a five-point favorite for tonight’s showdown yesterday afternoon.
As of early this morning, most books had the Wolverines installed as 4.5-point favorites with a total of 132. The Gophers were +175 on the money line (risk $100 to win $175).
John Beilein’s club is 5-3 SU and 4-4 ATS in eight road assignments, and we’ll note that all eight of those games were played from the role of road favorite.
Since getting its four-game winning streak snapped in a 74-59 loss at Iowa on Feb. 1, Michigan has won three of four games both SU and ATS. The Wolverines are off Saturday’s 65-52 spread-covering win over Maryland as a 7.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The 117 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 130.5-point total.
Charles Matthews led the way with a team-best 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field. He also had six rebounds, while Ignas Brazdeikis finished with 13 points and five rebounds. Zavier Simpson was also in double figures with 13 points, five rebounds, two steals and eight assists compared to only one turnover.
Michigan is ranked No. 7 at KenPom.com. The Wolverines are 10-3 against K-Pom Top-50 opponents and 16-3 versus Top-100 foes. According to most bracketologists, they’re currently a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan is ranked third in the nation in scoring defense, limiting opponents to an average of 57.6 points per game. The Wolverines are 20th and 29th, respectively, in field-goal percentage defense (39.8%) and at defending the 3-point line (30.5%).
With a win tonight, Michigan can pull even with Michigan St. for first place in the Big Ten standings. The Wolverines and Purdue are both 12-3 in league play, trailing the Spartans by one-half game.
Brazdeikis, the freshman from Canada, is averaging a team-high 14.5 points per game. He’s pulling down 5.2 rebounds per game and making 37.9 percent of his 3-pointers. Matthews is averaging 13.2 points and 5.2 RPG, while Jordan Poole is averaging 12.8 PPG and draining 38.0 percent of his treys.
Minnesota (17-9 SU, 13-13 ATS) has won 13 of its 15 home games while posting an 8-7 spread record. Most bracket gurus have the Gophers ‘in’ the 68-team NCAA field as a ninth or 10th seed, but they can bolster their profile considerably with a victory tonight.
Richard Pitino’s club is in a seventh-place tie with Ohio St. in the Big Ten standings with a 7-8 ledger in conference action. Minnesota snapped a four-game losing streak with Saturday’s 84-63 win over Indiana as a 3.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The Gophers led by 12 at intermission and coasted in the second half.
Jordan Murphy was the catalyst with 23 points, 11 rebounds and three assists compared to just one turnover. Gabe Kalscheur buried 6-of-8 launches from downtown and finished with 20 points, while Amir Coffey produced 18 points, six boards, one steal and seven assists compared to merely one turnover. Dupree McBrayer was also in double figures with 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Minnesota is ranked No. 46 at K-Pom with a 6-7 record against Top-50 opponents. Pitino’s squad is 10-8 versus the Top 100. The Gophers’ best wins are at Wisconsin and over Washington on a neutral court. The only L’s to teams outside of K-Pom’s Top 50 are at Boston College (#111) and at Illinois (#62).
Minnesota is 1-1 both SU and ATS in a pair of home underdog situations. The Gophers beat Nebraska 85-78 on Dec. 5 as 3.5-point home ‘dogs and lost 56-51 to Wisconsin while catching 2.5 points.
Coffey paces Minnesota with a 15.3 PPG average and a team-best 80 assists. Murphy averages 15.0 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 0.9 blocked shots per game. Daniel Oturu is averaging 10.8 points and 7.0 RPG and has a team-high 39 rejections, while Gabe Kalscheur is also scoring in double figures (10.5 PPG).
When these teams met in Ann Arbor on Jan. 22, Michigan captured a 59-57 victory but failed to cover the number as a 12.5-point home favorite. The Wolverines inched ahead of the number with a 13-point advantage only once when they led 52-39 with 8:40 remaining. The 116 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 136-point total.
Brazdeikis was an abysmal 4-of-18 from the field but still had 18 points and 11 rebounds to finish with a double-double. He buried 9-of-11 FTAs and dished out a pair of assists without committing a turnover. Jon Teske added 15 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots while making 7-of-8 FGAs.
In the losing effort, the Gophers were led by Murphy’s 15 points and 11 rebounds. Coffey and Kalscheur scored 11 points apiece.
Michigan has won three games in a row and nine of the past 10 in this rivalry, but the Gophers are 4-2 ATS in the past six encounters. The ‘over’ is 5-1 in the past six head-to-head meetings.
The ‘under’ is 16-9 overall for Michigan, 5-3 in its road contests. The Wolverines have seen the ‘under’ go 7-2 in their past nine outings.
The ‘under’ is 4-1 in Minnesota’s past five games to improve to 13-12-1 overall. However, the Gophers have watched the ‘over’ hit at a 10-5 clip in their home games.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets
-- Cincinnati will play host to UCF tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2. As of early this morning, most spots had the Bearcats listed as eight-point favorites with a total of 129. The Knights were +310 on the money line (risk $100 to win $310).
-- Zion Williamson’s shoe busted on him and he suffered a mild knee sprain in the first minute of last night’s home game for Duke vs. UNC last night. He didn’t return and the Tar Heels took full advantage, dealing out woodshed treatment to the Blue Devils from start to finish at Cameron Indoor Stadium. UNC won 88-72 as a 10-point road underdog, hooking up money-line backers with a payout in the +375 neighborhood. The early prognosis is that Williamson may miss a couple of games, but he’s expected to be back by the ACC Tournament at the latest. The ignorant-as-hell peanut gallery is already suggesting that perhaps Zion should “shut it down” for the rest of the year and stay healthy for the NBA Draft. My Goodness Gracious! What in the hell is going on in this country?! (To be clear, I’m not talking politics – EVER!) Maybe he should just go on bed rest until the Draft, too? I’ll just leave it at that…jeez!
-- Florida picked up its biggest win of the season and has suddenly won three games in a row after going into Baton Rouge last night and winning 82-77 in overtime as a seven-point underdog. The Gators hooked up money-line supporters with a +250 return (paid $250 on $100 wagers). Senior guard KeVaughn Allen scored all of his game-high 21 points in the second half and overtime, including a 26-footer from the left wing off an offensive rebound with 1:10 left in OT to put his team up six. “They are just a really tough team,” LSU star freshman center Naz Reid told the Associated Press. “I cannot say much besides the fact they clearly wanted it more than us.” Florida picked up a so-called fourth “Quad 1” win out of an SEC-high 14 attempts this season. UF senior Jalen Hudson averages better than 15.0 PPG last year, but his 15 points last night equaled his season high. Nevertheless, his nightmare senior campaign has shown a little life in the last 2-3 weeks. Freshman Noah Locke added 15 points and five rebounds, including a pair of clutch FTs with 8.6 ticks remaining in the extra session. Senior center Kevarrius Hayes contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots, making all four of his FGAs and both of his FTAs at crunch time in regulation. Freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard ran the team efficiently by producing eight points, three boards, three steals and eight assists compared to just two turnovers. The ‘under’ had cashed in five straight for the Gators and had hit at a 7-1 clip in their eight previous road assignments. The total closed at 142.5 and the game was tied at 64-64 at the end of regulation for 128 combined points, but 31 points in OT sent the game ‘over.’ “Bracketville Dave” elevated UF into his “Last Four Byes,” but K-Pom bumped Mike White’s team up only two spots from No. 30 to No. 28. The Tigers will get a rematch at The O’Dome on March 6. Florida’s final five regular-season games look like this: vs. Missouri, at Vanderbilt, vs. Georgia, vs. LSU and at Kentucky. There’s certainly time for UF to play its way back out of the field, but there’s also enough opportunity to move up as high as into an 8/9 game into the NCAA Tournament. That’s something nobody in Gainesville saw coming two weeks ago.
-- Marquette’s Markus Howard dropped 28 points on Butler last night in a 79-69 win as a seven-point home favorite. Sam Hauser (eye) played despite his ‘questionable’ status and finished with 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. The Bulldogs are a part of ‘Bracketville Dave’s ‘First Four Out’ along with Georgetown, Clemson and Furman. His Next Four Out are Nebraska, UNC-Greensboro, Lipscomb and Dayton, which picked up a huge win at Davidson on Tuesday night. His ‘Last Four In’ are Temple, UCF, Utah St. and Alabama.
-- Speaking of the Hoyas, they boosted their NCAA hopes dramatically with last night’s 85-73 victory over Villanova as six-point home underdogs. Jessie Govan and Mac McClung led Georgetown with 21 points apiece, with Govan making 8-of-12 FGAs and pulling down 11 rebounds.
-- Syracuse is 11-4 both SU and ATS in its past 15 games after dusting Louisville easily last night at the Carrier Dome, 69-49. This was my ‘guaranteed play’ on VI last night, cashing to make my record 14-6 in my last 20 g-plays. Elijah Hughes paced the Orange with 18 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.
-- There was a report this morning from WSYR in Syracuse that Jim Boeheim’s car struck and killed a man on I-690 last night after the game, according to District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick. As I was filing this column this morning, the only other information out there was that Boeheim was cooperating with law-enforcement officials.
-- Oregon’s Louis King (hand) has been upgraded to ‘probable’ for tonight’s game at Southern Cal. The Ducks are 2.5-point underdogs. King averages 12.9 points and 5.7 RPG.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.