College Basketball Handicapping Selections: Minnesota Golden Gophers at #21 Wisconsin Badgers
Minnesota Golden Gophers at #21 Wisconsin Badgers
Kohl Center – Madison, Wisconsin
Thursday, February 13, 2014, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Wisconsin -8 1/2
Current Line: Wisconsin -8 1/2
Opening Total: 136
Current Total: 133 1/2
Opening Money Line: Wisconsin -425 / Minnesota +335
Current Money Line: Wisconsin -425 / Minnesota +335
Like the Big 12, the Big Ten is wide open and any team can beat any other team on any given night. It creates a jumble of teams in the middle of the standings. Two of those teams meet Thursday night as the Wisconsin Badgers host the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Wisconsin is 19-5 overall and in fourth place in the conference at 6-5. Minnesota is 16-8 overall and tied for sixth at 5-6 with Nebraska and Northwestern.
Minnesota leads the series 96-88 against Wisconsin but the Badgers are 55-33 in Madison. The Golden Gophers have won 2 straight games in the series including 81-68 in Minneapolis January 22.
Minnesota is coached by Richard Pitino. The Golden Gophers have losses to Syracuse and Arkansas in the Maui Invitational, at home to Michigan, at Michigan State, at Iowa, at Nebraska, Northwestern, and at Purdue. Minnesota has key wins at home over Lehigh, Montana, Florida State, South Dakota State, Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Indiana Saturday 66-60. The Gophers have road wins over Richmond and Penn State. Minnesota is 8-10-1 ATS and the total is 8-9-1 this season.
Minnesota is outscoring teams 74-68 this season. The Golden Gophers are shooting 44.6% from the field and 34.5% from 3 point range. Minnesota is #24 nationally in free throw shooting at 74.8% from the line. Gopher opponents are shooting 42.2% from the field and 32.5% from 3 point range. Minnesota averages 36 rebounds per game and opponents average 31. The Golden Gophers average 14.4 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 8.3 steals and 4.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.8 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 5.7 steals, and 4.5 blocks per game.
Minnesota guard Andre Hollins averages 14.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Deandre Mathieu averages 11.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Guard Austin Hollins (not related to Andre) averages 11.7 points, 6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Guard Malik Smith averages 10 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists. Forward Oto Osenieks (from Latvia) averages 6.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Center Elliott Eliason averages 6.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. Joey King and Maurice Walker will also get significant minutes in the rotation.
Wisconsin is coached by Bo Ryan. The Badgers have losses at Indiana, Michigan, at Minnesota, Northwestern and Ohio State. Wisconsin has key wins over St. John’s in Sioux Falls, SD, Florida, at Green Bay, Bowling Green, Oral Roberts, Saint Louis and West Virginia both in a tournament in Cancun, at Virginia, Marquette, Milwaukee, at Northwestern, Iowa, Illinois twice, Purdue and Michigan State Sunday 60-58. Wisconsin has one two straight games after losing 5 of the previous 6 games. The Badgers are 13-11 ATS and the total is 12-11 this season.
Wisconsin is outscoring teams 73-63. The Badgers are #30 in points allowed nationally. Wisconsin is shooting 45.7% from the field and 37% from 3 point range. The Badgers make 73.7% of their free throws. Wisconsin is #45 in free throw shooting nationally. Badger opponents are shooting 42.3% from the field and 32.8% from 3 point range. Wisconsin averages 34 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.2 per game. The Badgers average 12 assists, 8.6 turnovers, 5 steals and 3.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.5 assists, 10.2 turnovers, 4.5 steals and 3.1 blocks per game.
Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker averages 13.5 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Guard Ben Brust averages 13 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Forward Frank Kaminsky averages 12.3 points, 6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.8 blocks per game. Guard Traevon Jackson averages 10.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Guard Josh Gasser averages 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Forward Nigel Hayes averages 7.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Duje Dukan, Bronson Koenig, and George Marshall will also get significant minutes in the rotation.
Minnesota is 5-11-1 ATS overall, 6-14-1 in Big Ten games, 1-4 against teams with winning home records, 1-5 in road games, 1-6-1 after a straight up win, and 0-4 after a cover. The road team is 3-1-1 ATS in this series recently. The Golden Gophers are 3-0-1 ATS in the last 4 against the Badgers and were underdogs in each of those contests. Minnesota has covered in 4 of their last 5 trips to Madison.
Wisconsin is 2-5 ATS against teams with winning records, 2-6 overall and against Big Ten teams, 1-4 after a straight up win, 1-5 against teams with winning road records, and 0-4 at home.
I can’t figure out what either of these teams will do from game to game. Wisconsin gets beat at home by Northwestern but then beats first place Michigan State a week later. Minnesota beats Ohio State, Wisconsin and Indiana, but loses to Nebraska and Purdue. On paper, Wisconsin should win at home, but I don’t trust either side. I do like the game to go over 133 1/2 though.