College Basketball NIT Semifinals Betting Preview: #1 Minnesota Golden Gophers vs #1 Florida State Seminoles

2014 National Invitation Tournament Semifinals
Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York

#1 Minnesota Golden Gophers vs #1 Florida State Seminoles
Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 9:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Florida State pick
Current Line: Florida State -1
Opening Total: 138 1/2
Current Total: 138
Opening Money Line: FSU -110 / Minnesota -110
Current Money Line: FSU -115 / Minnesota -105

Florida State is a 1 point favorite against Minnesota in the NIT semifinals Tuesday in New York City.
Florida State is a 1 point favorite against Minnesota in the NIT semifinals Tuesday in New York City.

The 22-13 Florida State Seminoles and 23-13 Minnesota Golden Gophers meet in the second semifinal of the 2014 NIT. The winner will face either SMU or Clemson in the championship game Thursday. Florida State was the runner-up in the 1997 NIT. Minnesota won the NIT in 1993 and 1998. The Golden Gophers were the runner-up in the 2012 NIT.

Minnesota leads the series against Florida State 5-4. The Gophers have won the last two games in the series. The two teams played earlier this season in Minneapolis. On December 3, Minnesota beat Florida State 71-61.

Minnesota was 7th in the Big Ten with an 8-10 record. The Golden Gophers lost to Wisconsin 83-57 in the Big Ten quarterfinals. It was the only loss for Minnesota in the past 6 games. Minnesota was given one of the four #1 seeds in the NIT. The Gophers beat #8 seed High Point 88-81 in the first round, #4 St. Mary’s (CA) 63-55 in the second round, and #3 Southern Miss 81-73 in the quarterfinals last Tuesday.

Florida State went 9-9 in the ACC and were part of a 3 way tie for 7th. The Seminoles lost to Virginia 64-51 in the ACC quarterfinals. FSU was given one of the four #1 seeds in the NIT. FSU has won 4 of their last 5 games. The Seminoles beat #8 seed Florida Gulf Coast 58-53 in the first round, and then beat #4 Georgetown 101-90 in the second round. Florida State then beat #3 Louisiana Tech 78-75 in the quarterfinals last Wednesday.

Minnesota is coached by Richard Pitino. The Golden Gophers have losses to Syracuse and Arkansas in the Maui Invitational, Michigan twice, at Michigan State, at Iowa, at Nebraska, Northwestern, at Purdue, Wisconsin twice, Illinois, and at Ohio State. Minnesota has key wins at home over Lehigh, Montana, Florida State, South Dakota State, at Richmond, Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Penn State 3 times, at Northwestern, and Iowa. Minnesota is 15-15-1 ATS and the total is 14-15-1 this season.

Minnesota is outscoring teams 72-68 this season. The Golden Gophers are shooting 44.8% from the field and 35.1% from 3 point range. Minnesota is #22 nationally in free throw shooting at 74.9% from the line. Gopher opponents are shooting 42.5% from the field and 34.6% from 3 point range. Minnesota averages 34 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.1. The Golden Gophers average 14 assists, 11.6 turnovers, 7.6 steals and 4.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.9 assists, 12.2 turnovers, 6 steals, and 4.2 blocks per game.

Minnesota guard Andre Hollins averages 13.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Austin Hollins (not related to Andre) averages 12.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.2 steals per game.  Guard Deandre Mathieu averages 11.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Forward Maurice Walker averages 7.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Guard Malik Smith averages 7.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Forward Joey King averages 7.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. Forward Oto Osenieks (from Latvia) averages 5.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He is out for the season with a knee injury. Center Elliott Eliason averages 5.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. He is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Florida State is coached by Leonard Hamilton. The Seminoles have losses to Michigan in a tournament in Puerto Rico, at Florida, at Minnesota, Virginia three times, at Duke, at NC State, Clemson, at Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, and Syracuse. Florida State has key wins at Central Florida, VCU & Northeastern in Puerto Rico, Charlotte, UMass, at Clemson, Maryland twice, at Miami, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, at Wake Forest, at Pitt, Georgia Tech, and at Boston College. The Seminoles are 18-14-1 ATS and the total is 15-17-1 this season.

Florida State is outscoring teams 71-66 this season. FSU is shooting 46.9% from the field and 38.1% from 3 point range. The Seminoles are in the top 50 nationally in both categories.  FSU makes 72.1% from the free throw line. Seminole opponents are shooting 40.1% from the field and 32.7% from 3 point range. Florida State is #27 in opponents’ field goal percentage. The Seminoles average 34.5 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.4. FSU averages 11.6 assists, 14.3 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 5.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.2 assists, 13 turnovers, 6.5 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.

Guard Aaron Thomas averages 14.6 points, 4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Guard Ian Miller averages 13.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Forward Okaro White averages 13.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. Guard Devon Bookert average 8.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Guard Montay Brandon averages 7.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Center Boris Bojanovsky averages 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. Robert Gilchrist, Michael Ojo, and Jarquez Smith will also get time in the rotation. Guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes and center Kiel Turpin are both out for the season.

Minnesota is 9-3-2 ATS in Tuesday games, and 1-5 in neutral site games.

Florida State is 4-1-1 in non-conference games, 9-3 in neutral site games, 4-10-1 against teams with winning records, and 1-17 against Big Ten teams.

In the earlier meeting between these teams Minnesota dominated Florida State in every facet of the game. The Gophers grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, forced 17 Seminole turnovers, and made 28 of 38 free throws. That game was very choppy with 52 fouls called on both teams, and 67 total free throws attempted. That game was in Minneapolis, but I still think Minnesota wins this game, in a much closer game.

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