Minnesota’s Marcus Carr (5) plays in an NCAA college basketball game against Nebraska, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
- The Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-7, 5-7 Big Ten) host the Purdue Boilermakers (13-7, 8-5 Big Ten) Thursday, Feb. 11
- Both teams have been up-and-down in the last four outings, with Minnesota going 1-3 and Purdue going 2-2
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-7, 5-7 Big Ten), the only team to beat Michigan this season, host the Purdue Boilermakers (13-7, 8-5 Big Ten) Thursday, Feb. 11 in Minneapolis. Tip is set for 5pm ET inside Williams Arena.
The Gophers get a chance to avenge an 81-62 loss to the Boilers Jan. 30 Thursday that was part of a three-game losing streak. The rough stretch followed Minnesota’s signature victory of the season: a 75-57 win over the Wolverines Jan. 16. Richard Pitino’s team knocked off also-ran Nebraska 79-61 Monday. Purdue has won six of its last eight, including a 75-70 victory over Northwestern Saturday.
Now, the Golden Gophers are a slight favorite at home to avenge that earlier loss to the Boilermakers.
Purdue vs Minnesota Odds
|Purdue||+2 (-110)||N/A||Ov 138.5 (-110)|
|Minnesota||-2 (-110)||N/A||Un 138.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Feb. 10 at FanDuel
Purdue’s 6-foot-4 guard Jadan Ivey picked up his second Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor after his efforts against Maryland and Northwestern. It’s the fourth week in a row and sixth time overall this season a Boilermaker has earned the title. The South Bend native had a career-high 20 points and seven rebounds in the five-point win.
✌🏽 𝐓𝐖𝐈𝐂𝐄 𝐀𝐒 𝐍𝐈𝐂𝐄.@IveyJaden named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for 2nd time. pic.twitter.com/dIBdO68iJj
— Purdue Mens Basketball (@BoilerBall) February 8, 2021
Perhaps most importantly was Ivey’s performance at the line last week, going 10-for-11 from the charity strip in the two games. He was 6-for-6 against the Wildcats in a game where Purdue’s free throw shooting was the difference. But the player who wears No. 23 can also make plays that would make His Airness proud.
Here’s the thing: If @BoilerBall is playing, we should all expect something special from @IveyJaden.
Well, check out today’s example: pic.twitter.com/Hh8TAGwvVm
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) February 6, 2021
Ivey — along with fellow freshman Zach Edey, Mason Gillis and Brandon Newman — gives Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter energy and athleticism to go along with the experience of the team’s leading scorer Trevion Williams. That combination of talent is why the Boilers are 22nd in KenPom ratings and should give opponents — starting with the Gophers Thursday — fits down the stretch.
Just Shoot Me
Minnesota has struggled mightily with its shooting this season. The Golden Gophers rank dead-last in field goal percentage, at 38%, in conference play. They also aren’t much better beyond the arc, going 29.5% from downtown in 12 Big Ten games. Pitino’s team isn’t afraid to shoot the deep ball, though, as the group hoists more threes than any other team in the league. Minnesota was 8-for-36 from downtown against Nebraska.
Coming into their game against the Huskers, the Gophers had lost six of eight. Of course, those two wins were biggies: a 77-60 victory over Ohio State Jan. 3 and that 18-point defining win against the Maize and Blue 13 days later. But Minnesota’s leading scorer Marcus Carr put up a game-high 21 points and Pitino’s club came away with an 18-point win against a struggling Nebraska unit.
Carr and fellow junior Gabe Kalscheur are putting up a combined 29 points a game. Junior post Liam Robbins is averaging 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. This trio gives the Gophers a chance to beat any team — which they’ve proven. But will the ball go through the hoop enough Thursday?
The Last Time
Newman scored a career-high 29 point against Minnesota the last time these two met less than two weeks ago in West Lafayette. Purdue overcame an early 14-point deficit against Minnesota thanks to handing the Gophers a taste of their own medicine: burying 8-of-10 3-pointers in the second half.
Adding to their arsenal Thursday, the Boilermakers will be able to deploy guard Sasha Stefanovic, who returned against Northwestern after missing three games following a positive COVID-19 test. Getting the Big Ten’s top 3-point shooter will only further help Purdue’s cause in Minny.
But while Pitino’s group has yet to win a road game (0-6), this one is at Williams Arena — where the Gophers sport a gaudy 12-1 record this season.
The Boilermakers and Golden Gophers have split the last matchups overall, but Minnesota has won four of the last six against Purdue on its homecourt — including two straight. Pitino’s crew has scored big wins this year, but needs this one to fortify its NCAA Tournament resume. That’s why I’m going with the home team in this spot.
The pick: Minnesota -2 (-110)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.