Minnesota vs. Providence NCAA Basketball Pick – November 13th

It was a nice weekend in hoops wagering, capped off with a third straight NCAA winner to start the season a perfect 3-0. Last night’s was a bit of a nail-biter; both the downside and upside of wagering on an otherwise meaningless game with a massive gulf in talent. I notched the narrow win by a point, though I understand the line moved another point or two in Arizona’s favor after publishing so perhaps a few out there who also fancied the Cats did not have as enjoyable an experience…

Alas, the season is off and running and the action gets REAL the next few days. The obvious headliners are tomorrow night with the doubleheader so good that #4 Kansas vs. #5 Kentucky is the UNDERCARD. The show-stopper is #1 Duke vs. #2 Michigan State. But more about those two games tomorrow…

For now, we have a nice Monday of college hoops action, highlighted by #15 Minnesota heading to Providence for a tricky non-con matchup at the Dunkin Donuts Center and Wichita State opening up at home against Charleston – a game the Shockers SHOULD win, but an opponent who has been known to strike some fear into big programs hearts over the years…

Today’s NCAA Basketball Pick:

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Providence Friars -3.5

Providence is the slight favorite, which is appropriate. One is “ranked” and the other is not, but in truth, the difference between 15 and 30, especially at this point in the season where so little is actually known about each respective team. Providence exceeded expectations by making the NCAA Tournament last season, and this year they return all five starters and their top eight scorers. Ed Cooley is one of those quiet, under-the-radar coaches who just seems to find a way to get the most out of his better-than-advertised rosters. There is no Kris Dunn or Ben Bentil this season, but the Friars are good and know each other well. That cohesive unit should be a big advantage in these Nov/Dec non-con matchups.

Meanwhile, Minnesota also greatly exceeded expectations last season. As our veteran readers probably recall, I was a late adopter on the Gophers, questioning their record because of the soft schedule all season long. It burnt me once or twice, but was eventually validated with a late season swoon and early exit from the NCAA Tournament. So, surprise, surprise, I’m not wild about this team this season either. However, their backcourt will be solid, led by returning All-Big Ten performer Nate Mason. But shooting and rebounding were issues last season. Their team FG% ranked outside the Top 200 in the nation, one of the reasons why I faded often last year, and the reason why I will continue to fade them on the road.

I’ll take the veteran Friars at home tonight in a great early season test for both teams.


Chris Scheeren / Author