Minnesota (13-8) at Indiana (11-9)
When: Wednesday, February 17th, 2021
Where: Assembly Hall,
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: Big Ten
Opening Odds: Indiana -4.5/138.5
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The NCAA Tournament is getting very close and the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Indiana Hoosiers are in a similar spot. Both are clearly on the bubble and according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, both would be part of the First Four games that take place before the Round of 64. Lunardi is extremely accurate, so fans of the Hoosiers and Gophers shouldn’t take this game for granted. The one thing these teams have going for them is that they play in the best conference in America. The Big Ten currently have three teams ranked in the top 5 in the latest AP Poll and each will get their crack at one of those teams coming up – Indiana will play Michigan and Minnesota will host Illinois. But first, the Gophers and Hoosiers could use this game as a building block. The Golden Gophers enter the contest 0-7 this season away from home and 1-6 ATS. They have lost six of them by double-digits including a 72-59 loss at Maryland on Sunday. Injuries have been an issue for Minnesota, who have center Liam Robbins limited by an ankle injury, and guard Both Gach, who has been bothered by a foot injury. The Hoosiers are just 5-4 at Assembly Hall and are coming off a 78-59 road loss at Ohio State on Saturday. Indiana fell behind 21-6 and could never get back into it. As of Monday, Indiana was No. 51 in the NET rankings, while Minnesota was No. 53. Indiana has won four of the last five meetings and are 4-1 ATS in that span. The under is 6-4 in the last 10 encounters.
The young players stepped up in the loss to Maryland as freshman Jamal Mashburn, Jr. and sophomores Isaiah Ihnen and Tre Williams combined for 36 points. Williams was the only starter who scored in double-figures with 10 points – a season-high. The Gophers continue to struggle with their shooting, ranking 317th in field goal percentage (40.3) and 323rd from beyond the arc (29.4 percent). Leading scorer Marcus Carr (19.4) was limited to just nine points on Sunday and was just 4-of-15 shooting to drop his season average to 41.4 percent from the field. The Gophers will host fifth-ranked Illinois on Saturday.
Though the Hoosiers are just 5-4 at home, they are coming off an impressive 67-65 win over Iowa the last time they took to the Assembly Hall court. In fact, two of their last three wins have come over the highly-ranked Iowa team including a 81-69 win in Iowa City on Jan. 21. In their most recent loss to Ohio State, only one player scored over 10 points and that was sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who had 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. The Hoosiers hit 12-of-22 three-pointers but were a dismal 11-of-28 from inside the arc. Indiana has a home game with Michigan State coming up on Saturday before visiting Rutgers next Wednesday.
Neither team will go far in the NCAA Tournament, but right the now the Hoosiers have the edge. There is no way I can back the Gophers here when they have lost six of their seven road games by double-digits. Look for Indiana to control this game and get the cover.
Pick: Indiana -4.5