Purdue vs. Minnesota NCAA Basketball Picks and Predictions

Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers shoots the ball while against the Indiana Hoosiers. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

Almost nothing comes easy in the Big Ten when it comes to men’s basketball and No. 4 Purdue hopes that is not the case when they make the trip to Minneapolis to battle the Golden Gophers.

With Purdue’s roster, this is a club wholly capable of reaching the Final 4 this season. Their 18-3 record speaks to that playing in the rough and tumble Big Ten, but their 11-10 ATS mark also tells a tale of possible weaknesses that can be exposed.

The Boilermakers hope that is not a problem among the thousands of frozen lakes in Minnesota tonight.

Golden Gophers head coach Ben Johnson has tried to put off the inevitable, but an almost brand new roster after the coaching change held up better than one could have expected early.

Since the new year though,  they are 1-6 in conference play (3-4 ATS) and overall is 2-7 and in 12th place, attempting to stay above .500 to earn a minor postseason tournament bid to keep developing the program.

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Wednesday, February 02, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Williams Arena

Sportsbooks like BetRivers have Minnesota on the receiving end of + 10.5 points according to their betting odds with a total of 139.5. Do the Gophers have any hope to cover against the more talented Boilermakers?

What Purdue Need to Do to (All But) Assure at Big Ten Title

As we start the night, Purdue is 7-3 (4-6 ATS) in conference play and is one game in the loss column behind Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

Matt Painter’s club will have a shot at all of them in the remaining regular season, but to knock them off and cover the spread this evening, these areas must show improvement.

Let’s start with free-throw shooting at 70 percent, which is 11th in the conference. Unless you are Gonzaga playing in the WCC, you are going to have games where everything doesn’t go your way and in the end, you need easy points, like those available at the charity stripe.

Though 70% is bad enough, Purdue is even worse at 66% in the Big Ten and is last among the 14 teams. Ultimately, this will cost any team when they least expect it. Whether it’s improved technique or more repetition, this area has to improve.

The Boilermakers are not prone to turnovers, however, under Painter, whatever the plan is to beat a press is, it’s never been great. Along with this, Painter teams have never been strong at on-ball pressure.

That might have made sense in the past with fewer athletic teams, that’s not the case now. With fewer miscues and generating more turnovers, Purdue will win more games by larger margins.

Easier Said Than Done for Minnesota

What will it take for the Gophers to compete with Purdue? It begins with Minnesota playing at their pace of taking around 55 shots and trying to keep the opposing team in the same range. The Gophers are a modestly above-average defensive club in permitting 66.3 points a game and allowing a 43.3 percent shooting percentage.

Where games get away from coach Johnson’s squad is if the pace is too fast and the defense suffers. In the Big Ten, Minny is 0-6 and 1-5 ATS when they concede 70 or more points.

The other part to the Gophers puzzle is rebounding. For the year Minnesota is poor -6 in rebound differential. They are lacking in many ways to be a better club on the boards and it is necessary to have a team effort. 

Purdue has a rebound margin of +11, which makes this a real uphill battle for Johnson’s guys. If they are within three for a differential, they would have a chance to stay in the contest. But that is asking a lot against Purdue who cleans the glass and scores 84.5 PPG.

What Is the Best Side to Be On?

Though this writer prefers to give out mostly sides for college basketball picks, this Big Ten battle has me flummoxed. Purdue is clearly better, but with their poor free-throw shooting they leave the door open for Minnesota.

Instead, turned attention to the total and discovered both clubs are 11-4 over vs. opponents with winning records. Next, found the Boilermakers are 8-2 over versus teams making 45% or more of their shots and the Gophers are 9-2 over as an underdog this season.

There you have it, we found our choice for our NCAAB picks tonight, the total going over.

NCAAB Pick: Over 139.5 (-108) at BetRivers