The conference tournaments are all now in full swing, many of them playing without fans in an unprecedented move made by the NCAA yesterday. The NCAA announced that all NCAA tournament championships, including the men’s and women’s basketball tournament, will still be played, but with no fans in attendance.
Updated ticket information for NCAA Championship events closed to public.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 11, 2020
The move was made to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and I am not sure anybody has any clue as to how this will affect the games themselves. The games will have a very limited number of family members in attendance, as well as coaching staff and referees. However, there will be no fans, cheerleaders, bands, or media.
It is still March, but I am not sure if it is going to feel like the Madness without the fans in the stands. For today’s daily betting pick, we will continue to seek out value as we head to Indianapolis, the home of the Big 10 tournament, to breakdown the game between Iowa Hawkeyes and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
- Minneosta Golden Gophers (15-16) at Iowa Hawkeyes (20-11)
- 11:30 AM PST
- Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
- TV: BTN
The Iowa Hawkeyes sputtered to the finish line of the regular season as they went just 5-6 in the final eleven games of the year. But when you look back at the games that they won and the games that they lost, it was more about where the games were being played, rather than who they were being played against.
— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) March 11, 2020
On the road, they lost to Maryland, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan State, Indiana. But at home, they beat elite teams like Penn State, Ohio State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Maryland Michigan, and this Minnesota Golden Gophers team. In my estimation, the Hawkeyes were amongst the very best home floor teams in the nation this year as they finished the year by going 14-2 at home, with eight wins coming against the top-50.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Gophers were similar to Iowa in that at home, they were very good, but on the road, they struggled. The Gophers played the third toughest schedule in the country this year, and their 15-16 record is very much a function of how many quality teams that they played this year. The problem for Minnesota was that they just couldn’t win any games away from home.
— Minnesota Men's Basketball (@GopherMBB) March 12, 2020
Away from home, either in true road games or neutral site games, the Gophers finished the season with an abysmal 3-11 record. They won at Ohio State and Northwestern, and they beat Oklahoma State in Oklahoma in the non-conference, that’s it. But this team showed they can compete with high-level teams when they beat Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Clemson at home. The Gophers played last night against Northwestern, so they are likely to be on weak legs today against Iowa after the quick turnaround.
Who Do I Like?
I am shocked to see this number as such a tight one. These teams played twice this year, and Iowa won both games. Even at Minnesota, where the Gophers have been great, they couldn’t beat the Hawkeyes. And I completely understand that it is really hard to beat a quality team three times in one year, that double revenge spot is generally a play that I like to go to. But at just one point, the Hawkeyes are criminally underpriced.
The reason being is that this is just a matchup problem for Minnesota. Their best player is big man, Daniel Oturu. But he isn’t the best big man in this game, as Iowa’s Luka Garza just might be the best player in the country. In the first two games between these teams, Garza dominated the action and carried the Hawkeyes to the win. Iowa has other options to go to if they need scoring production, Minnesota doesn’t, which makes the matchup with Iowa particularly tough.
I am taking Iowa in this one. They are the better overall team, and outside of Minnesota, the Gophers just haven’t shown any ability to beat quality opposition. I think Garza gets the best of Oturu for a third time, and Iowa wins easily. The fact that Minnesota played last night, and now has to have this quick turnaround this morning means they aren’t going to be at 100%.
Iowa hasn’t played since Sunday and will be on full rest. I think Minnesota keeps it competitive in the first half, before running out of gas in the second half, and I see the Hawkeyes pulling away. Give me the Iowa Hawkeyes laying one point today from Indy!