#1 Indiana Hoosiers at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Williams Arena – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Opening Line: Indiana -5 1/2
Current Line: Indiana -5
Opening Total: 140
Current Total: 139
Opening Money Line: Indiana -270 / Minnesota +230
Current Money Line: Indiana -210 / Minnesota +180
With only 4 games left in the regular season, the #1 24-3 Indiana Hoosiers have a 2 game lead in the Big Ten with a 12-2 record. All other teams have at least 4 conference losses. They have a very good shot at winning the regular season title in the nation’s toughest conference unless the wheels just fall off the Hoosier bandwagon.
Next up for the Hoosiers is a trip to Minnesota to take on the 18-9 Golden Gophers. The Golden Gophers are 6-8 in conference and tied with Iowa and Purdue for 7th in the Big Ten. Minnesota is a bubble team to make the NCAA tournament, but at one point Minnesota was ranked in the top 10.
Indiana leads the series 90-63 against Minnesota, but the Gophers are 42-33 in Minneapolis in the series. Indiana has won 2 straight in the series, including 88-81 in Bloomington January 12. Both teams were ranked in the top 10 at the time. In that game the Hoosiers exploded for 52 points in the first half and gave up 29. However, Minnesota scored 52 points in the second half. Indiana had to hold off a furious Minnesota rally to hold on for the 7 point win. The Hoosiers only scored 7 points in the last 4 1/2 minutes of the game. The Gophers actually pulled to within 3 points with 19 seconds to go, but the Hoosiers would make their free throws to seal the win.
Indiana is coached by Tom Crean. The only losses came to Butler by 2 points in overtime in Indianapolis and at home to Wisconsin and Illinois. The Hoosiers have won 4 straight games. Indiana has key wins over Georgia & Georgetown in a tournament in Brooklyn, Ball St, North Carolina, Minnesota, Penn St, Michigan St, Nebraska and Purdue, along with road wins at Iowa, Penn St, Northwestern, Purdue, Ohio St and Michigan St last Tuesday 72-68. It was the first win in East Lansing since 1991 for the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers are 15-10 ATS and the total is 12-11 this season.
Indiana is outscoring teams 83-61 this season. The Hoosiers are second in the nation in scoring. Indiana shoots 50.0% from the field and 42.8% from 3 point range. The Hoosiers are 4th or better in the country in both categories. Indiana makes 74.5% of their free throws and is 32nd nationally in that category. The Hoosiers average 39 rebounds per game and give up 25.7 per game. Indiana is #24 in rebounding, and #8 in rebounds allowed. Hoosier opponents are shooting 38.3% from the field and 30.8% from 3 point range. Indiana is #15 in opponent’s field goal percentage.The Hoosiers average 15 assists, 8 steals, 4 blocks, and 13 turnovers.
Forward Cody Zeller averages 16.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward Victor Oladipo averages 14 points, 6 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 2.4 assists. He is probable with an ankle injury. Forward Christian Watford averages 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Guard Jordan Hulls averages 10.8 points, 3.3 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. Forward Will Sheehey averages 9.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1 steal per game. Kevin Ferrell, Remy Abell, and Jeremy Hollowell also get significant minutes. Forward Austin Etherington (knee) is out indefinitely.
Minnesota is coached by Tubby Smith. The Gophers started off the season 15-1 but have gone 3-8 since then. Minnesota has lost 2 straight games and 4 of the last 5. The Gophers have losses to Duke in a tournament in the Bahamas, road losses at Indiana, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan St, Iowa and Ohio St 71-45 last Wednesday and home losses to Michigan and Illinois. Minnesota has key wins over Toledo, Richmond, Memphis & Stanford in the Bahamas, at Florida St, at USC, Michigan St, Northwestern, at Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin. The Gophers are 13-11-1 ATS and the total is 8-12.
Minnesota is outscoring teams 69-62 this season. The Gophers are shooting 44.5% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. Minnesota makes 68.9% from the free throw line. Minnesota averages 38.9 rebounds per game and gives up 26 per game. The Gophers are #25 in rebounding, and #10 in rebounds allowed. Minnesota opponents are shooting 39.8% from the field and 34.1% from 3 point range. The Gophers average 15 assists, 8 steals, 6 blocks, and 14 assists.
Guard Andre Hollins averages 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Guard Austin Hollins averages 11.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.9 steals. Forward Rodney Williams averages 10.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game.Trevor Mbakwe averages 9.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.6 blocks per game. Guard Joe Coleman averages 9 points, 4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Guard Wally Ellenson is out indefinitely with an Achilles’ injury.
Indiana is 4-0 ATS overall, and against Big Ten teams, 5-1 after a straight up win, 4-1 in Tuesday, after a cover, and against teams with winning records. The Hoosiers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 trips to Minneapolis. The road team is 4-1 ATS in this series.
Minnesota is 4-1-1 ATS in Tuesday games, 4-1 after scoring less than 50 points, 1-3-1 at home, 2-7 at home against teams with winning road records, 1-4 after a straight up loss of 20 points or more, 0-3-1 after failing to cover, 0-5-1 against teams with winning records, overall, and in Big Ten games. The under is 5-1 in the last 6 in Minneapolis in this series. The underdog is 16-5 ATS in this series recently.
How things have changed for these teams since they last met January 12. At that time both were projected to be top 2 seeds in the NCAA tournament. Barring some upsets, Indiana will likely be the #1 overall seed in the tournament, but Minnesota might not even make it. After a tough gritty win at Michigan St last week, the Hoosiers won’t be intimidated by a trip to rowdy Williams Arena, affectionately nicknamed “The Barn.” I like Indiana to win on the road.