Maryland, Minnesota in Big Ten Road Tests Monday

Jay Pryce

Monday, February 19, 2018 2:28 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 2:28 PM UTC

A pair of late-season Big Ten battles feature in Monday’s college basketball picks, as Northwestern hosts Maryland and Minnesota travels to Wisconsin. Efficient offense will be scarce. 

Maryland at Northwestern (pick'em)

A matchup of the Big Ten’s most disappointing teams sees Maryland (18-11 SU, 14-10 ATS) aiming to correct a 7-game road skid at Northwestern (15-13 SU, 11-14 ATS). The Terps, young and injury-riddled much of the year, are just 1-8 SU (4-5 ATS) away from College Park, last winning 92-91 at Illinois to open conference play back in December.

Defense tends to disappear for coach Mark Turgeon when traveling. The Terps yield 78.1 points per game, opponents shooting 49.1 percent from the floor. The question is whether it will show up against a toothless Wildcats offense.

Northwestern coach Chris Collins was down to eight scholarship players last time out with senior captain Bryant McIntosh (shoulder) and junior guard Jordan Ash (knee) sitting due to injuries. Lack of leadership and short-handed, the Wildcats squandered an improbable 27-point lead to fall 65-60 to No. 2 Michigan State. Collins’ crew went 3-for-26 from the floor in the second half after draining 60 percent in the first.

Poor offense plagues this bunch, and it’s even more neutered and inconsistent with McIntosh out. The Cats post 62.9 points per game on 40.0 percent shooting against Big Ten foes. It has failed to reach the market’s projected team total in 12 of 15 conference clashes by 3.9 points per game. The ‘under’ is 11-3-1 overall, a 128.5 combined score coming up well short of an average 135.7 total. In three games McIntosh either missed or played less than 20 minutes due to various ailments, Northwestern has failed to score more than 60 points in a contest.

Both teams are competing on one-day prep, and McIntosh’s status is unknown. The Terps dominated 73-57 in the first matchup in College Park just nine days ago. They are 6-1 SU (4-3 ATS) in the series since joining the Big Ten. The Wildcats average 61.7 points per game, failing to score more than 67 in all but one.

The ‘under’ is a perfect 7-0 this season at Allstate Arena in Big Ten competition with a 130.5 average final score. Northwestern is very deliberate, ranking 331 out of 351 Division I teams in tempo. Collins slows the game to a crawl and orders his men to look for a shot in the final 10 seconds of possessions. Maryland is the slowest conference outfit yet to visit the building yet, ranking 263rd in pace nationally.

Our best bet is the Wildcats defense will prove too strong at home. It showed flashes of brilliance vs. the Spartans reminiscent of last year’s team that made its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. Northwestern avenges their earlier loss 68-66 in a game that comes down to free throws.

Free NCAAB Pick: NorthwesternBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Minnesota at Wisconsin (-6.5)

Minnesota (14-14 SU, 10-17 ATS) is hurting without sophomore guard Amir Coffey and former senior center Reggie Lynch. The latter is expelled from the program after multiple sexual assault allegations emerged midway through the season. The 6-foot-10 big man averaged 10.1 points and 8.0 rebounds in 16 contests prior to suspension. The 6-foot-8 Coffey, meanwhile, has missed 10 of the last 12 games with an ailing right shoulder. Coach Richard Pitino announced Saturday the guard will miss the rest of the season after opting for surgery. Coffey posts 14.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game in 18 played this season.

Overall, the Gophers are 1-9 SU and 2-8 ATS with the pair out of the lineup. Pitino is seeing his squad lose by 13.8 points per game in their absence. The betting market is amiss as well. Minnesota is failing to cover a 5.2 average line by 8.6 points per game.

Wisconsin (12-16 SU, 11-15 ATS) is a favorite (-6.5) for just the third time in its last 12 games, coming off a 57-53 outright win over No. 7 Purdue as an 11-point underdog. A win like that deserves a court storm:

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What a night. #OnWisconsin

— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) February 16, 2018

Despite knocking off the Boilermakers, Wisconsin is just 3-8 SU and 5-6 ATS in this span, scoring points an issue. The Badgers are posting 63.4 points per game on 42.1 percent shooting. The numbers from long range are poor, draining just 30.6 percent from behind the arc.

Defense will help the Badgers to a much-needed win here. The Badgers allow 60.5 points per game at home to unranked conference opponents in head coach Greg Gard’s tenure. Our numbers give Wisconsin a 71-67 win, and this is being generous to the Gophers’ point total. Pick ‘under’ 140.5.

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 140.5Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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