You won’t find two better college basketball betting games on Saturday than the ones being played at high noon in the Big Ten and the Atlantic Coast Conference. Two showdowns await a nation of eager hoopheads.
Minnesota Golden Gophers @ Indiana Hoosiers
Odds: Hoosiers -8
Minnesota is flying high after a 17-point beatdown of Illinois on the road this past Wednesday. The Golden Gophers received three top-notch performances in their thrashing of the Illini. Forward Trevor Mbakwe scored 19 points and snapped down 11 rebounds in an authoritative, beastly effort that overwhelmed Illinois near the rim. Joe Coleman scored 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting, a career effort for a player who was not considered one of the Gophers’ two or three best performers. Andre Hollins scored 22 points while grabbing eight rebounds in a masterful display that floored Illinois at both ends of the court. Getting three all-world contributions in any game will enable a basketball team to win, but one has to wonder if Minnesota can get that same level of production from any three players in its lineup. Indiana will have had four full days to rest for this game, having played its most recent game on Monday against Penn State. The Hoosiers were the preseason pick to win the Big Ten championship, and Indiana is lights-out at Assembly Hall, having lost only one game at home in the 2011-2012 season, when it was not as good as it is this season. It’s true that Minnesota gave Indiana its lone home loss of the 2011-2012 campaign, but that only magnifies the point: The odds of Indiana losing at home to Minnesota in consecutive seasons are really rather low. The Hoosiers are going to attack the Golden Gophers relentlessly, and very likely win as a result.
Pick: Indiana -8
Duke Blue Devils @ North Carolina State Wolfpack
Odds: Blue Devils -3.5
This is a fascinating matchup for a number of reasons, with the main tension point being Duke’s ability to remain unbeaten even while playing at a relatively mediocre level. Duke was really good in late November and early December, when it beat Minnesota, Louisville and Ohio State to establish and announce itself as one of the elite teams in the nation. However, since the beginning of Atlantic Coast Conference play, Duke has been very lackluster, beating Wake Forest and Clemson without looking anywhere close to its best. Moreover, Duke lost forward Ryan Kelly to an injury against Clemson. Kelly injured his right foot and will be sidelined indefinitely. Kelly’s absence in the low post makes Duke an alarmingly thin team, one that is susceptible to North Carolina State’s power and skill in the paint. Richard Howell is a very strong and agile power forward who should be able to flourish against Duke with Kelly on the sidelines. North Carolina State has not been impressive in its own right in ACC play, slogging to a pair of unconvincing wins over Boston College and Georgia Tech, but this is the game the Wolfpack have circled on the calendar. Expect North Carolina State to deliver a high-energy performance, one that will wear down the shorthanded Blue Devils in the final minutes. Take the Wolfpack in this NCAA basketball betting game; Duke is going to lose sooner rather than later.
Pick: North Carolina State +3.5