Minnesota vs Iowa
The Minnesota Golden Gophers and Iowa Hawkeyes will meet for the second time this season on Sunday afternoon. Back in December, the No. 4 Hawkeyes visited the unranked Golden Gophers and suffered a 102-95 loss in overtime.
Luka Garza had a monstrous double-double of 32 points and 17 rebounds, leading the way for the Hawkeyes as usual, but Brandon Johnson hit four triples in overtime to lift his team over Iowa. Johnson finished with 26 points on a ridiculous 8-for-9 from beyond the arc, while Marcus Carr had 30 points and eight assists.
The Hawkeyes posted a whopping 27 offensive rebounds and still lost the game. They shot only 37.2% from the field, and Iowa has the best offensive rating in the country, scoring 122.9 points per 100 possessions while making 48.4% of their field goals (48th in the country).
— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) January 8, 2021
Since that tough loss in Minneapolis, the Hawkeyes have won three straight games and are coming off an 89-67 road victory over Maryland. On the other side, the Gophers have dropped two of their previous three contests including a heavy 82-57 loss at #10 Michigan.
Both Minnesota and Iowa love to play at a fast pace while leaning on their potent offenses, so this should be a proper high-scoring affair. If you like betting on the totals, don’t hesitate to take the over.
The Hawkeyes allow 96.3 points per 100 possessions, ranking 77th in defensive efficiency. The Golden Gophers tally 111.6 points per 100 possessions (23rd) and surrender 93.4 in a return (45th). Minnesota certainly stands a chance in this one, but we think the Hawkeyes will get revenge.
Iowa has played very well over the last ten days, while the Hawkeyes are 12-1 straight up and 11-2 ATS in their previous 13 outings on the home court. Also, the Hawkeyes have won six of their last seven home encounters with Minnesota, covering five times in that span.
College basketball pick – Iowa by 10.
Notre Dame vs Virginia Tech
It’s been a bumpy road for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish since the start of the season. They are 3-6 overall and 0-3 in the ACC play, so the Fighting Irish sit at the 164th spot of the NCAA NET Rankings. Notre Dame have won only one of its last five games while failing to cover in the process.
Virginia Tech, on the other side, are No. 19 in the AP Top 25 Poll, but the Hokies are only No. 35 in the NCAA NET Rankings. They’ve just snapped a four-game win streak with a 73-71 loss at Louisville, falling to 8-2 on the season and 2-1 in the ACC play.
— Virginia Tech Men’s Basketball (@HokiesMBB) January 8, 2021
The Hokies opened as firm favorites to beat the Fighting Irish for a few reasons, but mostly because of Notre Dame’s mediocre defense. The Fighting Irish allow 102.6 points per 100 possessions (187th in the country) on 44.5% shooting from the field (238th) and 38.5% from beyond the arc (322nd).
We expect the Hokies to take full advantage of Notre Dame’s defensive flaws. On paper, the Fighting Irish have a slightly better offense than Virginia Tech, scoring 0.2 points per 100 possessions more than the Hokies, but Virginia Tech is a much better defensive team than Notre Dame.
Furthermore, the Hokies have a greater depth which could be an important factor. The Fighting Irish often use just seven players in their rotation.
College basketball pick – Virginia Tech by 7.
Maryland vs Illinois
The Maryland Terrapins are 6-6 overall and 1-5 in the Big Ten Conference play, riding a three-game losing streak following an 89-67 defeat to the Iowa Hawkeyes last Thursday. They fell to No. 47 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 50 in the latest KenPom rankings.
On the other side, the Illinois Fighting Illini are rolling on a four-game win streak. Last time out, the Fighting Illini have dismantled the Northwestern Wildcats 81-56 as 6.5-point road favorites, tallying their fourth straight ATS victory, too.
— Illinois Basketball (@IlliniMBB) January 8, 2021
The Fighting Illini entered the week as the #12 in the AP Top 25 Poll, but they are No. 5 in the NCAA NET Rankings. Illinois has the sixth-best offensive rating in the country, scoring 116.5 points per 100 possessions, while the Fighting Illini allow just 90.9 points in return (18th).
Maryland is 6-1 SU and 4-3 ATS in its last seven encounters with Illinois, but the Terrapins covered just once in their previous four matchups with the Fighting Illini. The Terrapins have some serious defensive issues, so we think they won’t cope with Illinois this time.
At the moment, Maryland’s defensive rating is the 90th-best in the nation (97.1). The Terrapins surrendered 89 points to Iowa and 84 to Michigan, and we are looking for more of the same when they take on the prolific Fighting Illini team.
College basketball pick – Illinois by 10.
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