Road Underdog Minnesota Worth Backing vs. Big Ten Foe Maryland

Charles Stark

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 10:11 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 10:11 PM UTC

Two unpredictable teams meet on Thursday's NCAAB slate with Minnesota visiting Maryland, while St. Mary's plays at rival Gonzaga. Can the underdogs hang in on the road?

Thursday College Basketball: Minnesota at Maryland

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3332998, "sportsbooksIds":[93,19,180,238,169], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Free NCAAB Pick: Minnesota +8Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

Maryland is coming off two tough losses, while Minnesota pulled off a nice upset at Penn State. For tonight's matchup, Maryland opened as a solid -8 home favorite on the NCAAB odds board, and I'm leaning toward taking Minnesota with the points.

The Gophers have not played up to their potential, and prior to their win at Penn State they dropped three in a row. However, I like how they match up with Maryland overall, and statistically they have been good on the defensive end. Minnesota is allowing opponents to shoot just 41 percent from the floor and a very respectable 43.7 percent on opponent’s two-point shots. This will be crucial against a Maryland team that is more interior extended as compared to a team that just lights it up from distance.

Maryland has played some tough basketball recently but they don’t get up many shots at just 54.5 attempts per game, which ranks outside the top 300 teams in NCAA basketball. Ultimately, in my NCAAB picks, I think this is just too many points to give a talented Minnesota team that could give Maryland all they want.

Thursday College Basketball: St. Mary’s at Gonzaga

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3343799, "sportsbooksIds":[93,238,19,169,180], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Free NCAAB Pick: St. Mary’s +7.5Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

This is one of the best unknown rivalries in NCAA basketball. These teams have been going at it in the West Coast Conference for the past several seasons, and I expect a very good matchup tonight. Gonzaga opened as a -7.5 home favorite on the NCAAB odds board.

Gonzaga has owned this series recently, winning the past four matchups and 12 of the last 14; the last win for St. Mary’s against Gonzaga was in February 2016. Gonzaga, which lost in the 2017 NCAA championship game to North Carolina, is still extremely good but not quite as good as last season. St. Mary’s leads the country, shooting 52.4 percent from the floor, and Gonzaga ranks fifth at 51.3 percent. Defensively Gonzaga has been better but they do struggle from distance, allowing opponents to shoot 36.5 percent.

This should be just an extremely good matchup of two very well-coached teams. I like this game to be decided with almost the final shot, with Gonzaga winning but -- in my NCAAB picks -- St. Mary’s staying within the number.

comment here