Could the Wolverines finally be getting back on track heading into the December 11th Minnesota at Michigan matchup? Juwan Howard’s squad had gotten as high as #4 in the country at one point, but losses to Seton Hall, Arizona, and North Carolina have knocked them from the top 25 altogether. The Wolverines are clawing back though, coming off a 14 point win over San Diego State and a 102-67 beating of Nebraska on Tuesday in their Big Ten opener.
Oddsmakers seem to be impressed by Michigan’s last two outings, making them a -13.5 favorite in Ann Arbor on Saturday against a Minnesota team coming off their first loss of the season. The Golden Gophers started off 7-0 in nonconference play, but lost 75-67 at home against #19 Michigan State on Wednesday as -7 point underdogs.
Minnesota With Another Tough Outing
The Golden Gophers were at home on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to help them keep the undefeated season alive. Michigan State was up 13 points at the half and up by 14 with under 5 minutes left until Minnesota climbed back making the final 75-67 score look closer than the game actually was.
Minnesota only committed 3 turnovers vs. the Spartans which is a bright spot, but at the same time not really considering they couldn’t make the game closer even while playing so crisp. Now it’s time for the Golden Gophers to regroup after their first loss of the season and somehow try to figure out how to rebound against Michigan. Michigan State held a 44-29 rebounding edge against the Golden Gophers, who are the 2nd worst rebounding team in the Big Ten. Michigan is 5th best on the boards.
The good news for 1st year Gophers head coach Ben Johnson heading into the December 11th Minnesota at Michigan game is that he has a couple of the better scorers in the Big Ten. Jamison Battle’s 17.8 ppg is 5th in the conference while teammate Payton Willis isn’t far behind him putting up 16.4 per.
Michigan Starting to Cruise?
The Wolverines plunge out of the top 25 is kind of harsh considering their losses have come against #23 Seton Hall (67-65), #11 Arizona (80-62), and at a North Carolina team that is 6-2 and could be in the top 25 next week.
It’s been a small sample size of two games, but Michigan looks to be starting to play like that team that had so many preseason expectations starting the year ranked #6. The Wolverines bounced back from the loss to the Tar Heels to upend San Diego State 72-58 at home to cover the -9 number and then toppled Nebraska by 35 in Lincoln.
Hunter Dickinson has had a couple big games in posting 23/14 vs. the Aztecs and 15/12 vs. Nebraska. The 7’1, 260 pounder should have a huge day on the glass vs. a poor rebounding Minnesota team. Eli Brooks has struggled to score a bit over the last five games, but Caleb Houstan has stepped up with 16.5 ppg the last two.
December 11th Minnesota at Michigan Pick
The home team has won four straight in this series, and usually pretty handily. They split last year with Michigan getting an 82-57 win and then Minnesota returning the favor 75-57 just 10 days later. That means the -13.5 spread could be in play for the Wolverines, but these two squads also look very different than they did a year ago. Just way too many points for a Minnesota team with a couple of really good scorers.
Minnesota 64 – Michigan 75
Free Pick: Minnesota +13.5