Michigan (23-3) at Minnesota (17-9)
When: Thursday, February 21st, 2019
Where: Williams Arena,
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Michigan -5/131.5
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There are several ‘bubble teams’ who have just a few weeks left to improve their resume before Selection Sunday and one of them will play tonight in a pivotal game for them. The Minnesota Golden Gophers have a huge chance to impress the committee when they host the seventh-ranked Michigan Wolverines on Thursday night at Williams Arena. Minnesota ended a four-game losing streak with a 21-point triumph over Indiana on Saturday, but they’ll need to keep the momentum going on Thursday against a Michigan team that has other aspirations to worry about. Three of those four losses during Minnesota’s recent stretch came on the road, but Williams Arena has been kind to them this season where they are 12-2. The Gophers have lost three straight to the Wolverines and haven’t beaten them in two years, so a win versus a top 10 program would only help. Michigan’s biggest challenge Thursday might be looking ahead to Saturday, where they will host first-place – and rival – Michigan State. The Wolverines are a half-game behind the Spartans entering Thursday’s action and are seeking their first regular season conference crown since 2013-14. Michigan has lost three of their last five road games including an ugly 75-69 loss at last-place Penn State on February 12th.
Michigan rebounded from the loss in State College with a 65-52 win over Maryland behind Charles Matthews’ 14 points and six rebounds, and the 6’6″ guard also hit the game-winning jumper as time expired in the 59-57 win against Minnesota last month. Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis chipped in 13 points against the Terrapins after being limited to eight points in his previous two games. Zavier Simpson (12 points, eight assists, five rebounds) and Jon Teske (nine points, three blocks) also helped Michigan earn their sixth win against a ranked opponent. Michigan boasts the No. 3 scoring defense in the country at 57.6 points per game, but rank 248th in scoring (70.4) and have been held under that average in eight of their last nine contests.
The Gophers shot lights-out from long range in the blowout win over Indiana, hitting 12-of-22 for their most 3-point makes in a Big Ten game in nine years. Gabe Kalscheur led the way with 20 points including 6-of-8 from 3-point range, while Amir Coffey contributed 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Jordan Murphy averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds in the games against Nebraska and Indiana to earn Big Ten Player of the Week honors. Murphy recorded his 18th double-double this season versus the Hoosiers, which is tied for the second-most nationally. The Gophers will be at Rutgers on Sunday.
I know Michigan is the better team, but they have had their struggles on the road and it may be hard for them to focus with Michigan State on deck. The Gophers have had a tough time versus the Wolverines, but they’ve covered three of the last four against them and play well at home. I’ll take the points in what should be a tight contest.
Pick: Minnesota +4.5
Wolverines are 20-7-1 ATS in their last 28 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Wolverines are 37-14-2 ATS in their last 53 Thursday games.
Wolverines are 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Wolverines are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Wolverines are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Wolverines are 17-7 ATS in their last 24 road games.
Wolverines are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win.
Wolverines are 37-16-1 ATS in their last 54 vs. Big Ten.
Wolverines are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Golden Gophers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
Golden Gophers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Golden Gophers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
Golden Gophers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 vs. Big Ten.
Golden Gophers are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games following a straight up win.
Golden Gophers are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Golden Gophers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
Under is 7-1-1 in Wolverines last 9 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Under is 7-1-1 in Wolverines last 9 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Under is 5-1 in Wolverines last 6 games following a straight up win.
Under is 17-4-1 in Wolverines last 22 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Under is 4-1 in Wolverines last 5 games following a ATS win.
Under is 7-2 in Wolverines last 9 overall.
Under is 7-2 in Wolverines last 9 vs. Big Ten.
Over is 11-5 in Wolverines last 16 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Over is 5-1 in Golden Gophers last 6 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Under is 4-1 in Golden Gophers last 5 overall.
Under is 4-1 in Golden Gophers last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Over is 4-1 in Golden Gophers last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Under is 4-1 in Golden Gophers last 5 vs. Big Ten.
Under is 5-2 in Golden Gophers last 7 Thursday games.
Over is 5-2 in Golden Gophers last 7 home games.
Over is 5-2 in Golden Gophers last 7 games following a ATS win.
Under is 14-6-1 in Golden Gophers last 21 games following a straight up win.
Over is 26-12 in Golden Gophers last 38 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
Over is 7-1 in the last 8 meetings in Minnesota.
Wolverines are 7-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings in Minnesota.
Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.
Road team is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.