College Basketball action on Saturday evening and a pair of teams from the Big 10 Conference will square off as the Penn State Nittany Lions grapple with the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Nittany Lions enter this game off an 89-82 home loss to Iowa to fall to 0-7 in league play, while the Golden Gophers are off a 95-68 loss to Illinois, which puts them at 3-3 in league play.
Penn State’s Big 10 Woes Continue
Penn State has played the 2nd toughest schedule in the nation and it has shown in this record as they have gone 7-11 overall, including 0-7 in league play. Despite their struggles, KenPom has them ranked 65th in the land. Not bad for a team that is winless in their conference. PSU is off an 89-82 home loss to Iowa. the game was much higher scoring than the Lions would like. Their offense has been one of the worst on the nation, but they did shoot 46.9% from the field against the Hawkeyes, including 34.3% (12/35) from long range. Not great numbers, but better than they had been for the Lions. Leading their attack was Josh Reaves (10.5 ppg) and Rasir Bolton (12.1 ppg), who each had 16 points. The defense has been a strength this year, but it did not hold up against Iowa as the Hawkeyes shot 50% overall, including 42.9% (12/28) from long range. They will need to play far better defense in this one.
— Penn State Men’s Basketball (@PennStateMBB) January 17, 2019
The Nittany Lions enter this game ranked 303nd in the nation in scoring at 68.0 ppg, while also ranking 315th in shooting (41.2%), 311th in three-point shooting (31.0%) and 254th in free throw shooting (67.5%). On defense, they are 104th in points allowed, giving up 68.3 ppg, while also ranking 277th in defensive FG% (45.4%) and 256th in three-point defense (35.4%).
Gophers Get Buried By The Illini
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are off to a solid 13-4 start, which includes a 3-3 mark in league play. They have played the 55th toughest schedule and are ranked 64th by KenPom. That is just one spot better than Penn State, who is 0-7 in league play. The Golden Gophers come in off a horrible 95-68 loss to Ilinois on the road. Minnesota was favored by a point in that game. Minnesota was down 51-28 at the break and was never able to recover. The defense just didn’t get the memo that there was a game that day as they allowed the Illini top hit 56.1% of their shots from the field overall, including 50.0% (8/16). They have to hope their defense shows up against a weak offense in this one. The offense didn’t play well in the loss either as they 44.1% of their shots overall and were just 3/14 (21.4%) from distance. Daniel Oturu (10.6 ppg) had 17 and Jordan Murphy (14.4 ppg) put up 11 points as the only two players to score in double figures in the game.
Final on the road. pic.twitter.com/RM5ODIb6OB
— Minnesota Men's Basketball (@GopherMBB) January 17, 2019
The Golden Gophers enter this game ranked 152nd in the nation in scoring at 74.9 ppg, while also ranking 204th in shooting (44.2%), 277th in three-point shooting (32.0%) and 273rd in free throw shooting (66.8%). On defense, they are 135th in points allowed, giving up 69.9 ppg, while also ranking 195th in defensive FG% (43.7%) and 245th in three-point defense (35.2%).
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss
- The favorite is 8-3 ATS the last 11 games in this series
Penn State is:
- 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
- 1-9-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
KenPom has these two teams rated fairly even, but I’m not buying it. Penn State has gone 0-7 in league play and they have been outscored by 9.9 ppg in those games. Minnesota has lost two of their last three games, but they have gone 9-1 at home for the year and we also note that they will be angry after getting crushed in their last game by 27 points. Penn State is just 1-4 ATS in their last five trips to Minnesota and the Lions are also just 1-6 AYS against the Big 10 this year. Look for Minnesota to win this one by at least eight points.
Prediction: Minnesota -4.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I will look for this one to go Under the total. Both teams struggled mightily at the defensive end of the floor in their last game and you can bet that defense was the key to their practices. Penn State scored 82 points in their last game, but they have still averaged 61.4 ppg in league play so far. Minnesota has scored 89.4 ppg at home, but just 71 ppg in league play overall and Penn State has allowed just 71.3 ppg against Big 10 foes so far. The Under is 9-4 in Penn State’s last 13 games following a straight up loss and 4-1 in Minnesota’s last five games following a straight up loss of more than 20 points.
Prediction: Under 138