#15 Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-0) vs. Providence Friars (1-0)
NCAAB: Monday, November 13, 2017 at 6:30pm EST
Line: Providence -3.5
The 15th ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers will face their first big test of the season when they collide with the Providence Friars in early season action Monday night from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Golden Gophers crushed South Carolina Upstate by a 92-77 score in their season opener, and the Friars cruised to an 84-55 home win against Houston Baptist.
Golden Gophers Primed for Big Season
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are a team on the rise after an outstanding 2016-2017 season that saw them win 24 games. They return their top four scorers that all averaged double-digits in points last season. They easily defeated South Carolina Upstate by a 92-77 score in their season opener on Friday night. Jordan Murphy had a big night in the win, sinking 35 points on 13 for 22 shooting, and added 15 rebounds. The junior forward had a strong 2016-2017 season, averaging 11.3 points and a team-leading 8.8 rebounds in an average of 27 minutes of playing time. Minnesota’s leading scorer from last season Nate Mason was rather quiet in the season-opening victory, recording 11 points on a 3 for 11 clip from the field. The senior guard is a complete player, posting 15.2 points, and ranked fourth in the Big Ten in assists with an average of five per game.
The Golden Gophers were picked to finish third in the 11 team Big Ten conference in the preseason media poll. They can pile on the points and also play stifling defense, and will be very tough to beat in conference play. Last season the averaged 75.2 points, ranking them 122nd overall. Minnesota allowed an average of 69.4 points per game, placing them 105th overall.
Friars Poised to Make Noise in Big East
The Providence Friars return an abundance of talent and should improve on their 10-8 conference record from last season. They return their entire core and will be a very strong defensive team again this year. They handled Houston Baptist by an 84-55 score in their season opener on Friday night on 50% shooting from the field. Byron Cartwright picked up the double-double in the win, scoring 10 points along with ten assists. The senior guard averaged 11.4 points last season, and is one of the better playmakers in the Big East, posting 6.7 assists per game last year. Rodney Bullock only collected seven points on a 2 for 5 mark from the field in the Friday night win. The 6-foot-8 senior forward led the Friars with 15.7 points per game last season and also recorded a team-best 6.4 rebounds. The Friars are an outstanding defensive team, however, they were not a high scoring team last season, and will attempt to accelerate their offensive pace this year.
Providence was selected to finish fourth out of 10 teams in the Big East conference behind Villanova, Seton Hall, and Xavier. They scored an average of 70.3 points per game last season, ranking them 245th overall. The Friars play excellent defense and only conceded 66.9 points per game last year, good for 52nd in the Country.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Monday games.
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
The Providence Friars are:
- No Key Trends
I am taking the points with Minnesota in this contest. Minnesota features great scoring depth with four returning players that averaged double-digits in points last season, and they have the edge offensively in this matchup. The Golden Gophers also play outstanding defense, and are the better rebounding team. Furthermore, Providence has two of their starters questionable for this contest in Jalen Lindsey and Emmitt Holt, and if they do not play it will be very tough for Providence to win this game. Go with a deep Minnesota team in this one.