It’s a nice Christmas slate of sports, and one of the more intriguing battles to cap off the holiday is the NCAAB Iowa at Minnesota pick. The #5 ranked Hawkeyes have bounced back from their 88-99 loss to Gonzaga with a 70-55 romping of Purdue the last time out. Could the Gophers be facing a similar beating?
Richard Pitino’s Gophers squad is 7-1 on the year, but did take a 65-92 beating at Champaign against Illinois in their only loss of the season. The Hawkeyes are making their first true road trip of the season, and on Christmas, so could we see a flat outing from Iowa in this one?
Covering the Number Starts and Ends With Garza
Luka Garza is the straw that stirs the egg nog heading into the Christmas night NCAAB Iowa at Minnesota pick. The All-American had a fighting chance at the Naismith Award last season, but is the favorite to be named the best player in college basketball so far this year.
Garza simply hasn’t met a challenge he hasn’t answered so far this year. The big man had 22/9 to lead the Hawks’ win over Purdue, and it was a down night after going for 30+ in 4 of 6 games prior. Garza does have some help as Joe Wieskamp went for 17 vs. the Boilermakers and 20+ in each of the two games prior.
Iowa has looked good, obviously, with their #5 ranking in the country but they also allowed Gonzaga to shoot 50% from the field and 13-26 from three-point range. That is a very good Bulldogs squad, but Minnesota still averages over 82 ppg on the year. All of Iowa’s wins have been by at least 13 points though.
Is Minnesota For Real?
The Golden Gophers can’t argue with their 7-1 record, and they’ve faced some quality competition to get to that point. The Golden Gophers took their medicine in a 27 point loss at Illinois as +9 underdogs to open the Big Ten season, but bounced back in a 90-82 win over St. Louis last time out as +2 home underdogs.
Garza will get his points for Iowa, but the Golden Gophers have a supreme scorer in Marcus Carr as well. Carr dropped 32 against the Billikens, and is averaging 23.9 ppg on the year. This game should be a good watch after all the presents are opened, because the Gophers score – but also give up points as four straight games have gone ‘over’ the betting total. Friday night’s number is just 165.5.
The Gophers lost 55-58 at home last year in this series as -4.5 favorites. That was a low scoring game compared to 2017-2019 games where both teams scored 80 + prior to last year’s Hawkeyes sweep.
Free NCAAB Iowa at Minnesota Pick
Win Iowa wins, they win big but they also are playing their first true road game of the season on Friday night. A whopping 76% of the public likes the Golden Gophers here, but this game seems like one to stay away from on the sides. Instead, this one will almost surely be high scoring.
Iowa 89 – Minnesota 85
Free Pick: Over 165.5