Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Pick 12/9/19
Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-4 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS)
When: Monday, December 9, at 8 p.m.
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa
TV: Big Ten Network
Point Spread: MINN +6.5/IOWA -6.5 (BetNow - 50% REAL CASH bonus!)
Total: O/U 145
Last Time Out:
Minnesota routed Clemson 78-60 on Dec. 2; Iowa lost to Michigan 103-91 on Friday.
Scouting the Golden Gophers:
As the sophomores go, so go the Gophers. Center Daniel Oturu and guard Marcus Carr have been the key for the Gophers, combining for 32 points and 17 rebounds per game thus far. But where Minnesota does its best work is on the defensive side of the floor. The Gophers have yet to allow an opponent to break 73 points, and of their four wins, all have come when the opponent scores fewer than 70. Under that scenario, the Gophers are 4-1, but they’ve got defeats against DePaul, Oklahoma, and Utah when they gave up at least 70 points.
To get the result in Iowa City, the Gophers have to get their center Oturu to step up and not let himself get outfought by his opponent Luka Garza. If he can’t, the Hawkeyes will roll.
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Scouting the Hawkeyes:
Luka Garza is on a tear right now, scoring 44 points against a Michigan defense that had been shutting down good teams all season. But the Hawkeyes still couldn’t win, taking a 12-point loss in Ann Arbor to close out their week. Now they face their third game in six days, and it comes at a rather awful time given that they’ve still got finals coming next week and their job yet won’t be done after this game, as their rivalry with Iowa State follows on Thursday.
At times, the Hawkeyes have been pretty strong, but they’ve let loose some less-than-stellar performances against the likes of San Diego State and DePaul. Both of those teams might be better than people expected, but it’s still a concern. The main thing they have to do is keep feeding Garza. When the center scores at least 17 points, the Hawkeyes are 6-1; when he doesn’t, they are 0-2.
Distraction. Iowa likes to push it, and Minnesota prefers a much slower pace, but there is a reason to think that the Gophers will be able to dictate the tempo here. Iowa is a distracted team, as it’s facing finals and Iowa State waiting for the Hawkeyes after this game is over. I wonder if they’ll have the patience needed to force Minnesota to play at a faster tempo…or if the distraction overwhelms them.
Minnesota will Cover if:
Oturu can keep Garza under control and prevent him from taking over the game. Garza is an excellent player, and if Oturu can’t slow the Iowa big man down or at least give him a scoring fight, Garza can win this game almost by himself.
Iowa will Cover if:
The Hawkeyes show that the offensive prowess they showed against Michigan was no fluke. Minnesota has been staying in games with defense, but the Gophers haven’t demonstrated any ability to hang with a team that can score the ball consistently. Iowa has the No. 4 ranked offense in the nation per Ken Pomeroy, and that says this is a challenge that Minnesota hasn’t seen before. With good shooters like Joe Wieskamp and CJ Fredrick available, the Hawkeyes could prove to be too much for the Gophers if they can establish their offense early and show that it’s good enough to take control of the contest.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
I’ve been skittish about trusting Iowa ever since the DePaul game. The Hawkeyes played poorly in that contest and got crushed by the Blue Demons at home. DePaul is proving that it might be better this year than it has been in quite a while, but that still doesn’t excuse a 15-point loss at home.
What makes this pick worrisome is that I know Iowa is good enough to take over the game, and Garza is playing at another level right now. But the Hawkeyes are just so inconsistent that I really don’t want to touch them in this situation. The other thing to worry about is that Iowa has played a much more compressed schedule than Minnesota has. The Gophers have been off for a week and have five days after this game to prepare for Ohio State. The Hawkeyes played at Syracuse and Ann Arbor since the Gophers last played, and with Iowa State looming, Iowa might not be mentally prepared to come home and play Minnesota.
That’s what I’m going to count on here. Give me the Gophers to hang tight with the Hawkeyes.