Rutgers (6-1) at Minnesota (7-1)
When: Sunday, December 3rd 2017
Where: Williams Arena, Minneapolis, MN
Time: 6:00 ET | TV: Big Ten Network
Opening Odds: Minnesota -14
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Minnesota Golden Gophers were both cruising through the early part of their schedule, and then ran into the Atlantic Coast Conference. Both squads will be looking to bounce back when they open Big Ten play on Sunday evening in Minneapolis. After recording solid victories against Providence and Alabama earlier in November, No. 13 Miami brought an end to Minnesota’s first 7-0 start in nine years in Wednesday’s 86-81 home defeat. It was one of the ACC’s 11 wins over the Big Ten in the annual 14-game challenge. Jordan Murphy is off to a terrific start for the Gophers, leading all of Division I with eighth double-doubles in as many games, but the absence of Dupree McBrayer (right leg infection) was too much for Minnesota to overcome against the Hurricanes. Rutgers entered Tuesday’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge against Florida State by defeating teams by an average of 26.7 points per game, but an 11-0 second-half run by the Seminoles doomed the Scarlet Knights’ in the 78-73 setback. Rutgers ranks second in the country in scoring defense (51.6 points), third in field-goal percentage defense (35) and fifth in rebounding margin (plus-13.3).
Rutgers received strong offensive efforts from Eugene Omoruyi (10.9 points), Corey Sanders (13.0 points), and Deshawn Freeman (11.4 points, 8.9 rebounds) in Tuesday’s loss to Florida State. Omoruyi scored a career-high 22 points Tuesday, while Corey Sanders had 20 and Deshawn Freeman followed up his first double-double of the season with 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Freshman guard Geo Baker (11.4 points) is Rutgers’ other double-digit scorer but has posted consecutive five-point games on a combined 3-of-16 from the field after going 7-for-10 from 3-point range en route to a career-high 29 in a November 21st win over Bryant.
The Gophers hope to have McBrayer back on Sunday, but he has “lost a lot of weight” according to Pitino and is listed as questionable. That forced senior point guard Nate Mason to move to shooting guard and freshman Isaiah Washington – a former Rutgers recruit – into the starting lineup. Murphy leads all of the Big Ten in both points (21.4) and rebounds (12.5) and has scored no fewer than 16 points in any game and is shooting 62.4% from the field while also averaging 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals. Center Reggie Lynch leads the nation with 4.8 blocks per game and his 38 blocked shots are more than all but 40 Division I teams have entering Saturday’s action.
Minnesota is going to win this game, but don’t overlook this Rutgers team. They will compete night-in and night-out all season. They play well enough defense to cover some large spreads like tonight.
Pick: Rutgers +13
- Scarlet Knights are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
- Scarlet Knights are 8-17 ATS in their last 25 road games.
- Scarlet Knights are 16-35 ATS in their last 51 games following a straight up loss.
- Scarlet Knights are 16-36 ATS in their last 52 vs. Big Ten.
- Scarlet Knights are 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Golden Gophers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
- Golden Gophers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Golden Gophers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Golden Gophers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 vs. Big Ten.
- Golden Gophers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- Over is 5-0 in Scarlet Knights last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 4-0 in Scarlet Knights last 4 Sunday games.
- Over is 6-2 in Scarlet Knights last 8 games following a straight up loss.
- Under is 9-3 in Scarlet Knights last 12 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 6-1 in Golden Gophers last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Over is 8-2 in Golden Gophers last 10 vs. Big Ten.
- Over is 4-1 in Golden Gophers last 5 Sunday games.
- Over is 22-7 in Golden Gophers last 29 overall.
- Over is 5-2 in Golden Gophers last 7 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 38-18-1 in Golden Gophers last 57 home games.
- Favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
- Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.