NCAA Basketball Picks: Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Indiana Hoosiers

No. 8 Minnesota Golden Gophers at No. 5 Indiana Hoosiers
Saturday, 1/12/12, 12:00 PM EST, TV:  Big Ten Network
Opening Point Spread:  Indiana -6.5
Current Betting Line:  Indiana -8
Opening Total:  143.5
Current Total:  143.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are dangerous road underdogs Saturday

Minnesota has really been rolling of late as it attempts to start the conference season 4-0 for the first time since the 1971-72 campaign, as it comes off a convincing 84-67 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini as two-point road favorites.  “We expect to compete for a Big Ten championship and we certainly believe we have the players to do it,” stated Golden Gophers head coach Tubby Smith.  The program has four probable starters averaging in double figures, with guard Andre Hollins leading the way in scoring 13.7 points per game.  Minnesota is 3-0 ATS on the road this season, which can’t be ignored when making your NCAA basketball picks Saturday.

The Golden Gophers have registered 15 wins all-time over teams ranked in the top 5, but none of those have come in a true road game.  Minnesota is in the midst of an 11-game win streak, which is the second longest since Smith arrived on campus.  Defensively, the team leads the conference in blocked shots and steals, while also pacing all squads in averaging 16.2 offensive rebounds.

Indiana has won five games in a row since suffering its only defeat, including an impressive 74-51 victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions as 17-point road favorites last time out, while going UNDER the total in consecutive contests.  “These guys really did a great job making defense the forefront of everything they did,” stated Hoosiers coach Tom Crean.  The Hoosiers are known for their offense, as they lead the nation in scoring 87.0 points per game, which has led to outscoring foes by an average of 27.9 points per game.  Indiana is 23-10 ATS at home over the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 15-14 in that situation.

The Hoosiers certainly have one of the best players in the country in Cody Zeller, who is averaging 16.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.  Indiana should match up well against Minnesota on the glass, as it ranks first nationally in out-rebounding foes by 11.7 boards per game.  The squad also forces a conference-best 16.3 turnovers per game.

Sports bettors will likely back the Golden Gophers due to their 13-3 ATS mark on the road, while the favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.

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