Featured Video from Scott Steehn
No. 7 Minnesota looks for another upset when they take on No. 3 Michigan on Saturday at 3:30pmET in the second semifinal of the Big 10 tournament from Chicago. The Gophers upset Purdue, 75-73 after edging Penn State in overtime by seven. No. 11 Michigan is coming off an impressive, 74-53 win over Iowa on Friday. These teams have met twice this season, with Michigan winning by nine on the road (69-60 on Feb. 21) and two at home (59-57 on Jan. 22). The Wolverines are looking at No. 3 seed according to Jerry Palm’s latest Bracketology update, while Minnesota is at No. 9.
Another big win for Pitino over Painter
Minnesota was not the better team than Purdue this season. They came into the tournament with a 9-11 conference record. But Richard Pitino has handled Matt Painter’s Boilermakers (who were tied for first at 16-4) in two of three games this season. Forward Jordan Murphy dominated play with 27 points and eight boards, while Amir Coffey added 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting in their 75-73 win on Friday. The Golden Gophers shot 50 percent from the field and held Purdue to 43.9 percent shooting from the field (6-24 3pt). They also held Purdue’s leading scorer Carsen Edwards to just 11 points on 4-of-17 shooting (1-8 3pt).
7-7 at the free throw line
— Minnesota Men's Basketball (@GopherMBB) March 16, 2019
Coffey leads the Gophers with 16.4 points per game and 3.2 assists, while Murphy leads the league in rebounds with 11.6 per contest. Minnesota averages just 71.5 points per game on 43.8 percent shooting (32.5% 3pt). They allow 69 points per game on 43.2 percent shooting (33.7% 3pt).
Matthews returns for Wolverines
The return of Charles Matthews (12.5ppg, 5.1rpg) from an ankle injury that cost him three games didn’t exactly echo Zion Williamson’s return from a knee sprain. But he was an important cog for Michigan in the backcourt and had struggled in his last two games, scoring just a combined 13 points. He struggled again on Friday night against Iowa, scoring just five points on 1-of-9 shooting, but it didn’t matter. The Wolverines just suffocated the Hawkeyes, forcing them to shoot just 1-of-16 from beyond the arc and 35.6 percent from the field. Ignas Brazdeikis, who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, led the Wolverines with 15 points, while Jon Teske added 12 points and 10 rebounds with two blocks.
The guy who runs the show is sophomore Zavier Simpson, one of the more underrated point guards in the nation. He produced 10 points and 11 assists in the Iowa win and averages 9.1 points, 6.4 assists and 5.0 rebounds per contest this season. Defense is where it’s at for Michigan, who allows just 58.7 points per game (2nd) on 39.9 percent shooting (19th) and 28.7 percent from long range (5th). About the only thing they don’t do well is shoot free throws (69.3%) and they rank 213th. They can run but they are a typical Big 10-slow paced team, averaging 70.5 points per game on 44.9 percent shooting (35% 3pt).
- 2-5 ATS last 7 Saturday games.
- 4-1 ATS last 5 overall.
- 5-2 Over last 7 in series.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like both teams but Minnesota is playing with a sense of purpose right now. Richard Pitino has this team on edge, playing as if they need every game to get in the tournament. Now the motivation is not to be swept in three games by Michigan. Matthews is back for Michigan but he’s not close to form. The best thing might be to hold him out until the NCAA Tournament. Minnesota wins this game outright. Too much Coffey and Murphy.
Full-Game Total Pick
For a team that plays such good defense, Michigan has gone over in four of their last five games. Minnesota’s offense is clicking right now as they have scored 77 and 75 points in their first two tournament games and have gone over in three of their last four games.