Minnesota comes into the January 30th Big Ten CBB free pick angry. The Golden Gophers have one major blemish that sticks out on their tournament resume and that’s a 68-95 loss to Illinois in Champaign. In Wednesday’s rematch, Richard Pitino’s team is favored by -7 in the rematch from Williams Arena and everybody (78% of betting public) likes the home team. Are the Fighting Illini just a tough matchup or does Minnesota return the favor of a 25+ point beatdown?
Will Illinois Have the Advantage of a Mediocre Crowd Wednesday?
Make no mistake, Minnesota is a great home team as they’ve gone 11-1 at The Barn this season. That being said, attending Wednesday’s January 30th Big Ten CBB free pick is going to be downright dangerous this evening as temperatures are expected to be near 50 below zero with the wind chill. The game is expected to go on as scheduled and Illinois is ready to keep their momentum rolling. After dismantling the Golden Gophers by 27 on January 16th the Illini suffered a 24 point defeat in Iowa and a 12 point loss at home to Wisconsin. Illinois is riding high now however after a 78-67 upset of Maryland on Saturday as +8.5 favorites.
The Illini’s win over the Terrapins was technically on a neutral site at Madison Square Garden but it doesn’t tarnish the win any. Maryland came into that game winners in 7 of 8 yet the Illini used a 20 point night from Ayo Dosunmu to secure the upset. Dosunmu also had 23 in the win over Minnesota two weeks ago. Tevian Jones seems to have found his shooting stroke with extended court time, going 4-9 from three point range on Saturday. Throw in the energetic defense of Giorgi Bezhanishvili to neutralize down low and the streaky, yet dangerous, shooting of Trent Frazier from the outside and Illinois can be more dangerous than you think.
Minnesota Still Steaming From January 16th Loss
The Golden Gophers worse loss of the season came against these Illini two weeks ago in Champaign. After that defeat at Assembly Hall, Pitino said he didn’t even want to watch the game film. Senior Jordan Murphy said, “there’s not one person on our team that has forgotten about that loss.” One of the major reasons Minnesota lost to Illinois was because they were somehow outrebounded by the undersized Illini 38-26 and outscored in the paint 52-38. The Big Ten’s leading rebounder Murphy had just 3 boards in that loss and 6’10 Daniel Oturu grabbed just 4 of his 8 off the glass on defense. Oturu could also miss Wednesday’s game with a left shoulder injury which would favor Illinois immensely.
The Gophers are poised from revenge but the weird thing is that allowing Illinois their first conference win didn’t exactly send Minnesota into a free fall. In the three games since Minnesota has beaten Penn State and Iowa at Williams Arena and fell a 3-pointer at the buzzer short of beating Michigan in Ann Arbor. The win over the Hawkeyes was when Iowa was ranked 19th in the country and Amir Coffey had 23 points as the Gophers scored 55 in the first half.
January 30th Big Ten CBB Free Pick Betting
Illinois looked really good Saturday vs. Maryland but Minnesota looked even better Sunday against the Hawkeyes. The Illini beat Minnesota earlier by shooting 57 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc at home. They won’t shoot like that at Williams Arena even though Illinois is 10-4 ATS their last 14 in Minnesota. The Gophers get their revenge tonight by double digits shooting hot while it’s cold outside.
Big Ten Free Pick: Minnesota Golden Gophers -7