The lone ranked matchup around college basketball on Wednesday is from the Big Ten as No. 16 Minnesota visits No. 10 Michigan. It’s the first of two meetings between the schools over a 10-day span. The Wolverines will be solid home favorites on the NCAAB odds.
The schools played once last season and Minnesota won 75-67 at home. Daniel Oturu (now in the NBA) scored a career-high 30 points and the Gophers went on a late 11-0 run. Marcus Carr had 21 points and 12 assists for Minnesota. Zavier Simpson had 19 points and nine assists for Michigan. Franz Wagner made four 3-pointers and scored 17 points for the Wolverines, who led by 11 early but gave up big runs to Minnesota at the end of each half.
Why Bet on Minnesota? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis
Minnesota went 2-1 last week, winning 81-56 over No. 17 Michigan State, losing 71-59 at No. 6 Wisconsin and then beating No. 25 Ohio State on Sunday, 77-60. Liam Robbins had 27 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks vs. OSU. Marcus Carr added 15 points and Gabe Kalscheur scored 13 for the Gophers (10-2).
The Gophers finished their first six possessions with baskets and, after withstanding a 12-1 run by the Buckeyes, trailed for a grand total of 18 seconds of game time. Minnesota posted is their third straight victory over Ohio State, their longest streak in the series since winning five in a row from 1996-98, games that were later vacated for NCAA violations. Minnesota’s best win of the pandemic-shortened previous season was an 84-71 victory over the then-third-ranked Buckeyes on Dec. 15, 2019. Carr had 35 points, which is still his career high.
Ohio State shot 19 of 61 for the game (31 percent) and a big part of that was Robbins blocking shots and contesting several others patrolling the paint.
Robbins was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday. It is Robbins’ first Big Ten honor and Minnesota’s second-straight weekly award. Marcus Carr was awarded the honor last week. Robbins averaged 19.0 points per game and 10.7 rebounds last week. In addition, Robbins contributed 11 blocks, had six assists and went 18-for-35 from the field (51.4 %). Robbins leads the Big Ten in blocked shots, averaging 2.8 per game.
On Monday, Minnesota debuted at No. 43 in the NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool). The NET ranking helps the NCAA tournament selection committee pick the field of 68 in March, so it is far from perfect this early. The Gophers were among 11 Big Ten teams in the NET’s top 50, but they were below four-loss teams such as Maryland (No. 32) and Penn State (No. 42).
Meanwhile, the Gophers jumped from No. 21 to No. 16 in the latest AP Top 25 on Monday, the highest since the U was ranked 12th and 14th in 2017-18.
The Wolverines have played maybe the weakest major conference schedule in the nation up until this past week but it will be another stiff road challenge for Minnesota. So far this year the Gophers have been awful in road games.
Why Bet on Michigan? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis
The Wolverines (9-0) come off an 85-66 home win over No. 19 Northwestern on Sunday to stay unbeaten. It was the first time in the all-time series — 175 total meetings — both teams were ranked in the top 25 when they squared off.
Sophomore Franz Wagner was the star for UM as he had his first double-double of the season (14 points, 10 rebounds). He also had a career-high five blocks and dished out five assists.
Freshman Hunter Dickinson scored 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting and has now scored in double digits in each game this season. Eli Brooks and Chaundee Brown Jr. scored 14 each. Brooks went 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, and Brown went 5-for-9 from the field with two triples. Senior Isaiah Livers added 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and one block, while Mike Smith had five points and six assists.
Michigan shot 50 percent (32-for-64) and made a season-high 12 three-pointers against Northwestern (6-3, 3-2 Big Ten), while 30 of U-M’s points came in the paint. It was the Wolverines’ first win over a ranked team this year.
“Michigan just had their way with us,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “We haven’t seen that size, physicality and length in any of our games that we’ve played yet. I thought it really knocked us back. That front line of Wagner, Livers and Dickinson, they’re big, they’re long on both ends. The size really bothered us. They physically imposed their will in a lot of ways.
Dickinson was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the fourth time already. He averaged 22.5 points, seven rebounds and shot 78.3 percent (18-for-23) in the two wins. He has now shot 55 percent or better from the field in his first nine games with the Wolverines. The nine-game stretch marks the most games to begin a Division I career shooting 55 percent or better from the field in the last 10 seasons (min. 5 FGA per game).
- Michigan 80, Minnesota 73
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