The Big Ten is represented on Sunday with a couple of big games in Ann Arbor and Minneapolis. The Michigan Wolverines will host the Northwestern Wildcats in a game that should be fairly entertaining at the Crisler Center. Michigan continues to get better and might be a sleeper later on in the season. A lot can change between now and March, though, so we’ll have to see how things play out.
The Wolverines go into Sunday with a perfect record of 8-0 with no blemishes on their resume thus far. They enter a tough portion of their season and will easily be in the top-10 in the country with wins against Northwestern, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Fortunately, they get Wisconsin at home, which looks like their toughest contest. Michigan enters as the No. 16 in the country, while Northwestern is ranked at No. 19.
We have another all-ranked matchup in the Big Ten in Minneapolis on Sunday. The No. 25 Ohio State Buckeyes might be ranked lower than the Golden Gophers, but they are getting the edge from the public money. Ohio State will take on No. 21 Minnesota as slight favorites by a point at Williams Arena this evening. Ohio State is coming off a clinic on December 30 against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The Buckeyes blew the doors off Nebraska by a score of 90-54. Ohio State were in the clear after taking a 38-21 lead at the half. It was a nice response for the Buckeyes after a 71-70 loss against Northwestern on the road. However, Nebraska is not much of a challenge and didn’t provide much of a test for Ohio State. How they play against ranked Minnesota will tell us a lot about the 8-2 Buckeyes.
Ohio State has one ranked win on the season, as they defeated No. 14 Rutgers at home on December 23, 80-68. Minnesota are fresh off a beatdown against Wisconsin. They were on the losing end in that game, as the Badgers torched the Golden Gophers, 71-59, on New Year’s Eve. This was after two very impressive wins over Iowa, 102-95, and Michigan State, 81-56. Minnesota goes into this matchup with a record of 9-2. Head below for our free Ohio State vs. Minnesota pick for January 3, 2020.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA Betting Odds:
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Prediction:
Minnesota were on fire before they were cooled off quickly by the Wisconsin Badgers. It was the other way around at Williams Arena for the Golden Gophers against Iowa and Michigan State. The win over Iowa was particularly impressive. The Hawkeyes are a talented team, and while they struggled to contain Luka Garza, like just about every other team, Minnesota was on fire from the field.
Marcus Carr was hot to lead Minnesota with 30 points, while Brandon Johnson was a monster off the bench with 26 points and 9 rebounds. Johnson got the start against the Spartans in their next game, which was another easy 81-56 win at home. Carr had another productive game for 19 points and 5 assists.
Center Liam Robbins chipped in 18 points and 9 rebounds to advance the Gophers to 9-1 on the year. However, it was abundantly clear that Minnesota had no interest in playing New Year’s Eve in Madison against the Badgers. That was a big letdown spot for Minnesota.
Overall, Minnesota has netted 82 points a game for 44th in the NCAA. Despite the slow outing against Wisconsin, they are capable of much better than that. I think that was more a reflection of being lazy on the road on New Year’s Eve. Note that Minnesota has been much sharper at home, as they’ve scored 86.4 points per game at Williams Arena.
That’s come against some pretty quality opponents, too. Ohio State has scored an average of 73.3 points per game on the road in 2020. They are coming off a big performance, though a Minnesota team at home looking to bounce back is much different than a bad Cornhuskers squad.
The public will likely look at the most recent outings from Ohio State and Minnesota, and immediately jump on the Buckeyes. However, with the Gophers back home, expect a significantly better effort in a big game. Minnesota as small underdogs looks like the play on Sunday.