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After two seasons as a bottom-dweller in the Big 10 under Steve Pikiell, Rutgers has proven to be a much tougher opponent this year. They knocked off Miami on the road during non-conference play and are fresh off a victory over a ranked Big 10 opponent. Can they keep their momentum going with another upset on the road against Minnesota on Saturday?
Rutgers upends No. 16 Ohio State
Rutgers defeated No.16-ranked Ohio State 64-61 at home on Wednesday to improve to 1-3 in Big 10 play. Montez Mathis scored 16 points, while Geo Baker added 15 and hit a crucial jumper with 10.3 seconds to play for the Scarlet Knights, who got their biggest conference victory under head coach Steve Pikiell. Leading scorer Eugene Omoruyi went down seven minutes into the contest with a leg injury and did not return, but it didn’t stop the Scarlet Knights from pulling off the upset.
Geo Baker hitting the step-back dagger for Rutgers today 🔥🔥🔥
Remember the name! pic.twitter.com/ZwoFHZXkNo
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) January 10, 2019
Pikiell’s squad enters the weekend ranked at No. 106 in the latest KenPom rankings after winning their first conference game of the season. Rutgers is scoring just 100.4 points per 100 possessions (224th in the NCAA) for the season and that number is down to 98.7 points per 100 possessions during Big 10 play (11th in the Big 10). The Scarlet Knights are doing a better job of taking care of the basketball during conference play, but they haven’t been nearly as effective on the offensive glass. They are turning the ball over on just 13.8 percent of their offensive possessions through four Big 10 games (2nd in the Big 10), but shooting just 45.3 percent from inside the arc (14th in the Big 10) and 30.4 percent from 3-point range (10th in the Big 10). The Scarlet Knights have also seen their offensive rebounding rate drop from 35.8 percent (22nd in the NCAA) to 28.1 percent (8th in the Big 10) so far this year.
Rutgers is allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor (32nd in the NCAA), but they’ve been far less stingy on that end of the floor versus Big 10 opponents, who are averaging 109.0 points per 100 possessions versus the Scarlet Knights’ defense (10th in the NCAA).
Minnesota’s win streak stops at six games
Minnesota snapped a six-game winning streak on Tuesday, falling at home to Maryland 82-67. Amir Coffey led the team with 16 points and handed out five assists on the night, while Daniel Oturu added 11 points and 11 boards in a losing effort for the Golden Gophers.
Amir Coffey's season was cut short last year due to injury, but hes come back for his junior season. Coffey has all the tools at 6'8, athletic, long, skilled, versatile and being a play-making forward. His success will translate to team success for Minnesota. pic.twitter.com/yBleYr1CLv
— NBA Draft Wire (@NBADraftWire) September 6, 2018
Richard Pitino comes in slotted at No. 58 in the latest KenPom rankings after getting out to a 12-3 start to begin the year. The Golden Gophers are scoring 107.4 points per 100 possessions (81st in the NCAA), but just 101.5 points per 100 possessions during Big 10 play (9th in the Big 10). They sport one of the best offensive rebounding rates in the nation at 47.2 percent (7th in the NCAA) and they’ve hauled in a whopping 36.4 percent of their missed field goal attempts for the season (17th in the NCAA). That has helped the Golden Gophers negate some very poor shooting numbers. Minnesota has connected on just 49.0 percent of their attempts from inside the arc (212th in the NCAA), 31.7 percent of their 3-pointers (266th in the NCAA) and 65.9 percent of their shots from the charity stripe as a team (292nd in the NCAA) for the season.
On defense, the Golden Gophers are allowing just 95.8 points per 100 possessions (52nd in the NCAA), but that number has jumped to a whopping 109.4 points per 100 possessions in their first four Big 10 games (11th in the Big 10). They have limited opposing teams to just 46.6 percent shooting from inside the arc (55th in the NCAA) for the season, but they rank near the bottom of the conference in nearly every major defensive category coming into this game.
- Golden Gophers are 11-27 ATS in their last 38 games overall.
- Golden Gophers are 5-15 ATS in their last 20 vs. Big Ten.
- Golden Gophers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a double-digit loss at home.
- Scarlet Knights are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games.
- Scarlet Knights are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Scarlet Knights are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. Big Ten.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The favorite has covered the spread in five of the last six meetings. Rutgers has notched just six conference wins over the past two seasons combined, but the Scarlet Knights have been much better this year and already have two Quadrant One wins coming into this game. Minnesota is 12-3 on the year, but just 2-2 in Big 10 play and they benefited from playing a non-conference slate that ranked No. 268 in terms of overall strength. Take Rutgers to cover the spread on the road in this spot on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Pick: Rutgers Scarlet Knights +10.5
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams have gone over the projected total in four of the last five meetings in Minnesota and five of their last seven overall. Rutgers has gone over the projected total in five of their last six Big 10 matchups and each of their last four versus a team with a winning record. Take this game to go over the projected total at Williams Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Over 132.5