February 15, 2015 (Posted at 11:00 AM ET)
Take Minnesota at +3 spread against Indiana risking 3%
The Minnesota Golden Gophers head into this contest looking for a fourth straight win as they battle the Indiana Hoosiers in Big Ten Conference play at Assembly Hall.
Minnesota is currently playing their way towards an NCAA bid after somewhat of a rocky start to conference play. They head into this contest having won three straight after picking up a big and rather surprising road win against Iowa on Thursday night. A big reason for Minnesota’s recent success has been because of their pressure defense. Their defensive presence has forced their opponents to take contested, low percentage shots from the field. However, the biggest element of their defense has been how disruptive they have been. They have rarely let teams get comfortable running their offensive schemes; their shifts and switches along with aggressive hands have forced an above average amount of turnovers this season. They are second in the nation in steals and average over 10 per game which could prove problematic for an Indiana team that relies on a certain amount of "flow" to effectively run their offense!
The Minnesota offense has been performing well and has the depth to hang with the Hoosiers shooters. The Golden Gophers are 32nd in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 74.8 points per game and shoot 46.1% from the field. They are a team that relies heavily on ball movement ranking 12th in the nation averaging nearly 17 assists per game. This is important because ball movement spreads opposing defenses which typically leads to having an open shooter with a high percentage shot. Six players average at least 8 points per game for Minnesota with three in double figures. Andre Hollins averages a team leading 14.8 points per game. He is also the team’s biggest 3 point threat as he has been shooting nearly 45% from long range this season! Maurice Walker puts up 11.9 points with a team high of 6.4 rebounds per contest. Carlos Morris contributes 11.7 points per game and Nate Mason averages 9.5. They are extremely accurate from long range, connecting on 38.6% from three point range. Andre Hollins has knocked down 63 triples, Mason has 32 and Joey King has 36 of his own.
The Indiana Hoosiers are having a solid season and have played extremely tough here at Assembly Hall. Offense has not been much of a problem for the Hoosiers this season, however defense has been. They are allowing their opponents to score an average of 72 points per game on nearly 45% shooting this season. That has not really been much of an issue because of the quick strike offense that the Hoosiers employ and their ability to put points on the scoreboard in a hurry. However they have been known to struggle especially against solid defensive teams. Indiana is what we call a "feast or famine" type of team. When their outside shots are falling, they can be incredibly tough to beat, especially on this floor. However, when they have struggled with their outside shooting, that has often spelled defeat for the Hoosiers.
In a game between two offensive minded squads, it's often the team who has the better defense or at least can get the critical stop late in the game that holds an advantage. If that is the case then the Gophers clearly hold an edge in this contest. Assembly Hall is a tough place to play, but Minnesota has quite a bit of momentum backing them which should carry over into this game. The Gophers have had quite a bit of success recently against the Hoosiers, winning 8 of their last 12 meetings. The key to beating the Hoosiers is to contain their shots from the field. There is absolutely no way to defend their three point shooters, especially in transition, but what Minnesota can do is force the Hoosiers into playing half-court basketball and contesting all of their mid-range shots. Maryland had similar success against the Hoosiers this past week as they gave up 10 of 26 from 33 point range, but held the Hoosiers to just 37% from the field. Indiana will make some 3's in this game, but we believe the Minnesota defense will do enough to keep this game close and possibly contend for the outright win.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Indiana is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a cover.
- Minnesota is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
- The underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
- Indiana is 5-13 ATS in their last 18 home games vs. teams with losing road records.
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