There is a big showdown in the Big Ten looming on Wednesday night in Ann Arbor. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are at the Crisler Center for a key battle against the Michigan Wolverines. This is the only game featuring two ranked teams. Minnesota has been holding up well with a record of 10-2. That puts the Golden Gophers 16th in the nation.
They’re not the highest ranked team in Ann Arbor tonight. They will have to find a way to knock off the red-hot No. 10 Wolverines. From what I’ve seen from them this season, Michigan has looked better than a No. 10 team. I’d have them somewhere around No. 5-7. They are coming off a blowout against what used to be a ranked Northwestern team, 85-66.
A win over Minnesota would be their biggest win to date. The oddsmakers expect them to win, and win comfortably. The heart of the Wolverines is center Hunter Dickinson. Not many saw Dickinson developing so fast this season, hence why Michigan was not projected to be a 9-0 basketball team at the moment. The hot start for Dickinson has the Wolverines on the map, though. He’s been unguardable near the hoop at times, ask Northwestern and Maryland.
The brain of this 9-0 start for Michigan goes back to the head coach. You have to really like what Juwan Howard has done with this program. Howard has made an instant impact at Michigan, and if he wants to be, will likely be in Ann Arbor for a long time. A member of the Fab Five in the 90’s, it’s going to take a lot of coin to pry him away from Michigan. If you don’t believe me, watch how emotional he was at the introductory press conference.
While Michigan has been a well-oiled machine so far, they will have to deal with a quality Minnesota team on Wednesday night. The Golden Gophers are coming off an impressive 77-60 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes at home on Sunday. That was a nice response from Minnesota after they were no shows in a 71-59 loss against Wisconsin on New Year’s Eve. Head below for our free Minnesota vs. Michigan pick on January 6, 2021.
Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Michigan Wolverines NCAA Betting Odds:
Minnesota vs. Michigan Prediction:
Hunter Dickinson will once again be a load to handle tonight. The Michigan offense will run through Dickinson and for good reason. Dickinson has scored an average of 16.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. The 7’1” freshman is connecting at an astonishing 71.8% from the field. For a guy his size, Dickinson has athleticism unlike a guy like Luka Garza from Iowa. NBA teams covet big men that can move.
Being just big simply isn’t enough anymore. Dickinson has helped lead the Wolverines to 82.6 points per game. Michigan is 33rd in the nation offensively. They should be able to slice through a Minnesota defense that has been vulnerable. The Gophers have conceded an average of 72.5 points per game for 237th in the NCAA.
They’ve really suffered particularly on the road, where Minnesota has gotten KO’d for 81.5 points against per game. Michigan has scored at least 80 points in their last three games, and likely won’t slow down for Minnesota on Wednesday night. I think for Minnesota to keep pace, their offense will have to fire away and hope that the attempts fall. Minnesota could make that happen.
The Golden Gophers have netted 81.6 points per game for 44th in the NCAA. Michigan has been less than effective at protecting the arch, as they’ve allowed teams to hit at a 36.1% clip from three for 284th. The battle between Liam Robbins and Dickinson is the most intriguing matchup in this game. If Dickinson dominates, then Michigan will pull away with ease from the Gophers. Robbins, who is coming off a big 27-point out against Ohio State, must hold his own at the Crisler Center. This should be a good one in Ann Arbor tonight. A high-scoring 85-75 or 80-75 game looks reasonable here.