We could have a blowout on our hands today when the #10 Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-12) play the #2 Michigan St Spartans (25-6) at Wells Fargo Arena. The Spartans opened as sizable 11-point chalk with tip slated for 1:00 pm ET. The winner will book a spot in the Sweet 16, facing the winner of #3 LSU vs #6 Maryland in the East Region.
The underdog Golden Gophers enter the game averaging 71 PPG, which ranks 220th overall. They are shooting a concerning 41-percent from the field and 32-percent from beyond the arc (309th).
They have been better defensively, currently 108th in the country at 69 PPG. But if this team is going to shock the Spartans, it’s going to need more at the offensive end of the court.
Coach Richard Pitino’s certainly got his team’s A effort in the first round against Louisville. Minnesota went off for 86 points in a ten point win over the school that Pitino’s dad is currently suing. Leading scorer Amir Coffey, who’s averaging a team-best 16 points per game, was solid with 18 points in the W. But it was Gabe Kalscheur’s team-high 24 points that really put Minnesota over the top.
Leading rebounder and dominant front-court presence Jordan Murphy, who’s grabbing 12 rebounds a night, added another 18 points and 6 rebounds.
The Golden Gophers, on the whole, are a decent rebounding team. They are currently 109th in the nation, hauling in 34 rebounds per game. The tied Louisville on the glass with 35 rebounds apiece.
The Golden Gophers will be facing a Michigan St team that is elite at the offensive end, currently 11th in offensive rating. That’s led to the Spartans scoring 80 PPG, 39th in America. They are shooting a solid 46-percent from the field, 38-percent from three (28th), and 75-percent from the line (29th).
The Spartans pair their highly efficient offense with an impressive D, one which sits 20th in defensive rating and is allowing just 66 PPG at the moment. This is a team that can beat you in multiple ways.
Cassius Winston is the leader at the offensive end, averaging 19 points a night, while Kenny Goins leads the team on the boards, grabbing 9 rebounds a night.
Goins’s efforts on the glass have helped Michigan St dominate that part of the game. As a team, they are 3rd in rebounding, averaging 39 rebounds per game. Unless Murphy is at his absolute best for Minnesota, they are likely to lose the rebounding battle.
The Spartans were able to get a win of their own in the first round, beating no. 15 Bradley 76-65. The Spartans didn’t come close to covering as 18.5-point favorites, and the game was much closer than the final score indicates. Bradley actually held a 55-54 lead with a little over five minutes to play.
But Winston came up huge down the stretch, scoring 26 points in the win to lead the team, per usual. Forward Xavier Tillman added 16 points and 11 crucial rebounds. MSU shot just 27% from the three-point line and can, realistically, thank their 10-rebound edge on the glass for the win.
Betting-wise, Michigan St is covering at a tremendous rate, even after the Bradley game, going 24-11-0 ATS on the year. Minnesota is also over .500, but just barely at 18-17-0 ATS.
Get the most recent odds, the history of how the line has moved, and our proprietary projection system’s score prediction for Minnesota vs Michigan St above. As always, best of luck betting.