Two teams trending upwards meet in the January 19th NCAAB free pick when Rutgers hosts Minnesota. The Scarlet Knights are -6 favorites on Sunday as they’ve rattled off 12 straight wins at the RAC. After a slow start, the Golden Gophers have also found their stride winning 6 of the last 8. Is the Rutgers defense, the home court, and the early 1:00 PM EST start time too much for Minnesota to overcome?
Minnesota With a Tough Offensive Task Sunday
Rutgers has been winning games with their defense, the 7th ranked unit in points/game giving up just 58.8 per contest. Opponents are also shooting only 36.4% against the Scarlet Knights which is the 6th best shooting defense in the nation. Minnesota scores consistently though, putting up 75+ points in 8 of the last 10 and 84+ in 3 of their last 8.
Daniel Oturu is a big reason the Gophers are putting up as many points as they have been as he continued his strong season with 26 points and 14 rebounds in Minnesota’s win over Penn State on Wednesday. Oturu had 30 the game before against Michigan and has posted seven double-doubles in the last 10 games. Oturu also had 20 points in the 64-68 loss to Rutgers last season.
A lot of Minnesota’s success has been at home this season as they are 9-1 on their own court this season. Going away has been a different story for Minnesota this year as they are they 0-5 in true road games. Some of those away beats have been pretty ugly too including a 52-72 loss at Iowa and 58-74 at Michigan State. Quality teams, but so is Rutgers – especially on their own court.
Rutgers to Keep Doing What They Do?
The Scarlet Knights have legitimacy with a 13-4 record on the season. That includes going 12-0 at the Rutgers Athletic Center – a place that has become one of toughest for Big 10 opponents to come in and get a win. That’s especially true for Minnesota in the January 19th NCAAB free pick considering the struggles Richard Pitino’s team has had on the road.
The only blemish Rutgers has on their resume over the last 8 games is a hard fought 51-54 defeat at Illinois. The matchup against the Fighting Illini was still a great showing for the Rutgers defense that hasn’t allowed more than 62 points in the last 7 games. The Scarlet Knights held Indiana to 50 points on Wednesday which makes Sunday’s O/U of 129 a bit on the high side.
The teams split last season with each winning at home. Rutgers had a 4-point win in New Jersey but was absolutely dominated 70-88 at in Minneapolis.
January 19th NCAAB Free Pick
Rutgers has some momentum going, especially at home. Minnesota has been playing great, but not on the road. The -6 points seems like a lot in this tilt though, especially the way Minnesota fought at Rutgers last season. Oturu has been dominant enough on the inside to keep this one on the close side.
Pick: Minnesota Golden Gophers +6