Minnesota vs Rutgers

Minnesota vs Rutgers | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on February 3, 2021

Minnesota fell out of the Top 25 in the new poll on Monday and is likely on the NCAA Tournament bubble. So is unranked Rutgers, although the Scarlet Knights probably would get in as things stand now. The two meet in Big Ten action from New Jersey on Thursday and Rutgers will be a short favorite on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Minnesota at Rutgers NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

  • When: Thursday, 9 PM ET
  • Where: Rutgers Athletic Center
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Stream: Fox Sports Go
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA (Rutgers will be favored)

Last Meeting

The schools met once last season and Minnesota lost 64-56 at Rutgers. Caleb McConnell, who is still with the Scarlet Knights, had 10 points and 12 rebounds top lead the way. Rutgers built its lead to start the second half, ballooning it to 14 on a few occasions. Minnesota cut the lead to seven three times after that but that’s the closest the Golden Gophers got. Rutgers outrebounded Minnesota 45-35, pulling down 20 offensive rebounds, with 15 in the first half, while Minnesota had 13.

“Give Rutgers credit. They absolutely manhandled us on the offensive glass,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “You can’t win on the road, home, anywhere when you give up 20 offensive rebounds.”

Why Bet on Minnesota? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Gophers (11-6) lost for the fourth time in five games Saturday, 81-62 at Purdue. Minnesota dominated most of the first half as they took a 24-10 lead. But the Boilermakers rallied late, trimming the deficit to 35-30 at the half. Purdue opened the second half on a 10-4 run and then Brandon Newman helped them extend the margin to 53-41 with 10:05 to play. Minnesota never got closer than seven afterward. Purdue had a 44-27 rebounding advantage.

Liam Robbins scored 15 points and Brandon Johnson had 11 for Minnesota, which fell to 0-5 on the road. Leading scorer Marcus Carr was shut out in the first half and finished with six points and four rebounds. Eric Curry scored a season-high 10 points. Gabe Kalscheur made two three-point attempts and has now made 173 threes in his Gopher career, which ties him with Sam Jacobson (1995-98) for sixth-most all-time.

Robbins was named a top 10 candidate for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award; the award recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball. The 7-0 center averages 2.82 blocks per game, which leads the Big Ten and ranks 12th in the nation. Robbins has 48 blocks this season and needs 19 more to crack the top 10 in school single-season history. Robbins’ average of 2.82 blocks per game currently places him sixth in the school single-season record books, just behind Randy Breuer (3.0 bpg in 1982-83) and ahead of Kevin McHale (2.6 bpg in 1979-80) and Breuer (2.6 bpg in 1981-82).

Robbins was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Jan. 4 and Jan. 18. In addition, he was named the USBWA National Player of the Week on Jan. 5 and was the Naismith Trophy Award Player of the Week on Jan. 18.

Minnesota and Rutgers have met 12 times previously (Gophers lead 8-4), which makes Rutgers the Big Ten team that Minnesota has played the least. The two teams met in 1973 and 1979 and have also played 10 games since Rutgers joined the Big Ten.

Why Bet on Rutgers? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Rutgers (10-6) won its third in a row Sunday, 64-56 over Northwestern. Ron Harper Jr.’s three-point play gave Rutgers a 55-40 lead with 6:24 to go before the Wildcats went on a 10-0 run but they never got closer than five the rest of the way. The Scarlet Knights picked up where they left off from their 30-point blowout win over Michigan State last Thursday night and raced to a 22-6 lead over the Wildcats. Jacob Young paced the Scarlet Knights’ scoring with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting and a pair of three-pointers off the bench. Geo Baker added 12 points, four boards and two assists, while Harper Jr. scored all 13 of his points in the second half to help secure the road victory.

“Our guys grinded out a Big Ten win on the road. I’m proud of them,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “Our defense keeps improving. We figured out a way to win in an old-fashioned Rutgers win with our defense. We made some timely shots. Everybody contributed. I really liked our bench, we got a lot of contributions. We held them 0-for-8 from three-point in the second half and that was a big reason we were able to get a win on the road.”

Rutgers forced 20 turnovers, a season-high for the Wildcats. Northwestern entered the game with the fewest turnovers in the Big Ten, averaging 10.1 turnovers per game, which was the 10th-fewest in the nation.

The win was Rutgers’ third Big Ten road win of the season (at Maryland, at Indiana, at Northwestern). The Scarlet Knights have won three Big Ten Conference road games for the second time since joining the league in 2014-15.

This marks the third time in the past 16 seasons that RU has won three conference road games in a campaign (2018-19 in the Big Ten, and before that in 2005-06 in the BIG EAST). The victory marked the Scarlet Knights’ second three-game winning streak in Big Ten conference play (previously defeated Nebraska, Penn State and Indiana from Jan. 21-30, 2019).

Rutgers has allowed 93 total points in the last two conference games combined. That is the fewest RU has given up in consecutive league outings since 1982 when the Scarlet Knights held George Washington and UMass to 85 combined (as an EAA member).

Expert Prediction    

  • Rutgers 74, Minnesota 69

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