We had a big day yesterday as we again went undefeated on a packed Saturday of college basketball action. Our early morning winner came by backing the Richmond Spiders at home, laying a point and a half, against the VCU Rams. I was a bit hesitant to back the Spiders as they did get blown out by this very same VCU team a couple weeks back.
But when I looked at the fact that the Rams were 0-5 on the road against top-100 teams, I knew backing the home team was the play. Even if it was more of a fade of VCU, than it was really having any confidence in Richmond.
— Richmond Basketball (@SpiderMBB) February 15, 2020
And once again, the Rams struggled on the road. This game wasn’t even all that competitive as the Spiders jumped out to an eighteen-point lead at half time and coasted it in for an easy victory and cover, 77-59. The Rams are quickly falling to the wrong side of the bubble as they have now lost three out of their last four games. They host Dayton in their next game, and they may have to knock the Flyers off to give themselves a real shot at an at-large bid.
For Richmond, the Spiders are establishing themselves as a team worthy of an at-large bid as they have now won nine out of their last twelve games, including four straight. The next four games for Richmond are all against teams outside of the top-100, and if they can avoid a bad loss, they should find themselves dancing come March. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to the Big 10, where the Minnesota Golden Gophers host the Iowa Hawkeyes.
- Iowa Hawkeyes (17-8) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-11)
- 10:00 AM PST
- Williams Arena, Minneapolis
- TV: FS1
Joe Lunardi currently has the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the first four out category and missing the NCAA tournament. And when you look at their 12-11 record, it is easy to understand why they are currently on the outside looking in for the Big Dance. However, when you look at their SOS of second in the country, and their stack of quality wins, this Golden Gophers team is one or two more strong wins away from dancing. They could pick one up tonight as they host the Iowa Hawkeyes.
— Minnesota Men's Basketball (@GopherMBB) February 16, 2020
For Iowa, the Hawkeyes are firmly in the field if sixty-eight at this point, but they aren’t without their flaws. Despite being an elite team at home, the Hawkeyes are just 1-6 on the road in Big 10 play. With the lone victory coming against Big 10 cellar dweller, Northwestern. When you look at what is left on the schedule for Iowa, they still have three more road games, and their home games are against solid teams like Ohio State, Penn State, and Purdue. The Hawkeyes need this win tonight.
How good would this Iowa Hawkeyes team be if they could play all of their games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena? At home, this Iowa team has wins over Illinois, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Michigan, Maryland, and Minnesota. Even on a neutral floor, they have been very good, as they have beaten Cincinnati and Texas Tech.
But their struggles on the road are quite concerning. The road losses to Michigan, Penn State, and Maryland were understandable. Those are all good teams. But road losses against Purdue, Indiana, and Nebraska all came to teams that are bubble teams at best, and likely all three of them are going to miss out of the madness. Minnesota rates out eerily similar to Indiana and Purdue in terms of total body of work, and the Hawkeyes are gong to have their hands full today on the road.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Gophers are having a very similar season as Iowa. On the road, they are awful, but at home, they are elite. But unlike the Hawkeyes who started out the season with soft games against the likes of SIU Edwardsville, Cal Poly, and Kennesaw State, Minnesota has been playing a brutal schedule from opening day, which has caused their record to look very mediocre as there were very few easy wins scheduled.
Wins over Clemson, Ohio State (twice), Oklahoma State, Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin, tells me that this Minnesota team can compete with, and beat, the best teams in the country. The only home-court loss for Minnesota in Big 10 play came to Michigan State, a team that has been ranked as high as number one in the country this season.
Who Do I Like?
What a great basketball we have in store for you in this one. Two teams that have both played tough schedules, and are battle-tested, and ready to bang today. The marquee matchup in this game is between the big men, Daniel Oturu and Luka Garza. These are the best two big men in the conference, and possibly in the nation.
While most people know Garza’s name at this point, not many realize that it is Oturu, not Garza, that leads the conference in rebounds at over eleven games, and blocks, at nearly three a contest. When these two teams matched up in Iowa, Oturu went for twenty-two and twelve, and Garza went for twenty-one and ten. Whichever player gets the best of that matchup today is likely to win this game.
I like the home team in this one. Iowa just isn’t the same team on the road. At home, I might back this Hawkeyes team against any team in the country. But for some reason, that home court success just hasn’t translated into success in true road games. The only road win they have in Big 10 play came against an awful Northwestern team. I think they are in for some trouble today in Minnesota.
Now that we have established that Minnesota is the side to be on let’s take a look at the number. Four points is a tough number to lay against a team as talented as Iowa. But when you look at the road losses for Iowa in league play, they are losing by an average margin over almost thirteen points a game. Each of their six losses have come by more than four points.
And on the flip side, Minnesota has won most of their home games in league play by healthy margins. The Gophers beat Wisconsin by eighteen, they beat Ohio State by thirteen, they beat Michigan by eight, and Penn State by six. I like Minnesota to win and cover today at home.
The game will be competitive throughout, but I see the Gophers pulling away late in the second half for the win and the cover. Something in the range of 75-68 feels about right if you ask me. Give me the Minnesota Golden Gophers laying -4-points today at home!