NCAAM Pick February 14, 2021 – Minnesota Golden Gophers at Maryland Terrapins

While there aren’t a ton of games on the schedule today for NCAA Men’s Basketball, we do have several games that are going to have NCAA tournament implications. The morning kicks off with the Michigan Wolverines playing their first game in almost three weeks as they head to Madison to play the Wisconsin Badgers. Next up is a Missouri Valley contest between the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers and the Drake Bulldogs. After starting their season out by winning their first eighteen games, Drake has now lost two out of their last three, including a blowout loss last night at home to these very same Ramblers. Another loss at home today would all but eliminate the Bulldogs from at-large consideration.

Penn State hosts Nebraska in a Big 10 battle, with the Nittany Lions desperately trying to keep their heads above water in conference play. Penn State is squarely on the bubble right now, ranked 30th on Kenpom, and a loss to a bad Nebraska team would be devastating to the Nittany Lions at-large hopes. The late game in the Big 10 will feature a game between Maryland and Minnesota, with both teams looking to add another top-100 victory to their resume.

In the Big East, Seton Hall hosts Marquette in a loser is out matchup between two teams on the outside looking in for the NCAA tournament right now. The game between Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh is a similia contest, as whichever team losses is basically done in terms of at-large consideration.

The late game in the ACC is between Notre Dame and Miami, and while the Irish are certainly not a team that would get into the tournament if the season were to end today, they have won five out of their last seven games, and with an SOS of 11, they are going to get a hard look by the selection committee if they can finish out the regular season on this hot streak. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to the nation’s top conference, the Big 10, for the game between Maryland and Minnesota.

Today’s Game

  • Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-7) at Maryland Terrapins (10-10)
  • Xfinity Center, College Park
  • 4:00 PM PST
  • TV: FS1

The Maryland Terrapins host the Minnesota Golden Gophers tonight, trying to pick up their 5th Big 10 conference win of the season. Maryland is just 2-4 in their last six games, but they have a resume that has some of the most impressive wins of any team in the Big 10 on it, and if they can find a way to win a couple more games down the stretch, they are going to be right at the cut line for the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday.

For Minnesota, the Golden Gophers are in a little bit of a better position than the Terrapins are, as they are 6-7 in Big 10 play and have won back-to-back games, but there isn’t a lot separating these two team’s resumes right now. The bottom half of the Big 10 is sure to get a couple of teams in the Big Dance, but with teams like Maryland, Minnesota, Penn State, Indiana, and Rutgers so closely bunched up, which teams emerge from that pack is still up in the air.

Spread:

  • Maryland Terrapins (-2.5)
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers (+2.5)
Money line:

  • Maryland Terrapins (-140)
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers (+120)
Total Points:

  • Over 137.5 (-110)
  • Under 137.5 (-110)

Maryland Terrapins (10-10)

Not many teams in the country can say that they have road wins at Wisconsin, at Illinois, and at Minnesota. Those teams are some of the best home teams in the entire nation, and the fact that Maryland has wins over each of them is the only thing keeping the Terrapins in the NCAA tournament bubble conversation at this point. When you look at a team that has been able to win against such strong competition on the road, you would think they would be even better at home. But that just hasn’t been the case for Maryland.

At home, the Terrapins have a nice win over Purdue, and outside of that, there isn’t much there for Maryland. They are just 7-5 at home with losses to Rutgers, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. Most of their home wins came against teams ranked outside of the top-100 like La Salle, Navy, and Old Dominion. Looking ahead on the schedule, better times could be ahead for Maryland at home as they have winnable games against Nebraska, Michigan State, and Penn State coming up at the Xfinity Center. Wins against those teams would likely be enough to send the Terrapins dancing.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-7)

While Maryland has only been able to win big games on the road, the exact opposite has been true for Minnesota, as the Golden Gophers have won all of their biggest games at home. Home wins over Iowa, Saint Louis, Michigan State, Michigan, and Purdue, have given the Gophers a legit shot at an at-large bid. But on the road, wins have been non-existent. Like actually non-existent, as Minnesota hasn’t won a single true road game this season in six tries.

Minnesota has road losses at Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Purdue, and Rutgers. Now, there is certainly no shame in losing to those teams, as those are all teams that are either locks to be dancing in March, or in the case of Purdue and Rutgers, have a real shot as they are both sitting right on the bubble. The final three road games of the year for Minnesota come at Maryland, at Indiana, and at Penn State. All of those teams are also on the bubble, and if the Golden Gophers can knock them off, they are going to be in great shape for an at-large bid.

Who Do I Like?

The Big 10 is always a home team dominated league. Even in a season where home court advantage has been almost a non-factor in some conferences, home teams still win in the Big 10 at a rate of over 62%. If you throw out the really bad teams in the league like Northwestern and Nebraska, that number is even higher. Maryland has been an anomaly, as they have struggled at home, but really that has been more of a case of rough scheduling than anything else.

Yeah, so Maryland can’t beat Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State, and Wisconsin at home, so what, nobody else has been able to beat those teams either this year, and all of those teams could still playing on the second weekend of the tournament. Now that Maryland has some home games that are actually winnable coming up, you can expect that the Terrapins are going to start to have some home floor success. That starts tonight against Minnesota.

The Bet

Winning on the road in conference play is the hardest thing to do in all of college hoops. It is hard to ever predict a team to win on the road when they quite literally have been incapable of doing so the entire season long. It has been a tough road schedule for Minnesota, as they have road losses to Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa, but they have also lost their last two road games at Rutgers and at Purdue, two teams that rate out fairly similar to this Terrapins team.

I think Maryland wins this game tonight at home. And when you take a look at how the Gophers have lost on the road, they struggle to even stay competitive away from home. All but one of their six road losses have come by double digits, and all of their losses have come by more than this spread represents tonight. I think Maryland wins the game, and it might not even be all that competitive.

This is one of those standard home team in league play, fade the road team, spots that makes itself. Give me the Maryland Terrapins tonight at home, laying -2.5-points, as they knock off a Gophers team that has shown no ability to win in hostile territory. I’ll call it a 71-66 final score from College Park!

The Bet: Maryland Terrapins -2.5

My Pick
Maryland Terrapins -2.5
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Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL