Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Southern Methodist Mustangs
The Minnesota Golden Gophers and SMU Mustangs will square off Thursday night in the NIT championship. The Mustangs are -3 point favorites over the Golden Gophers with an over/under point total set at 132.5.
SMU reached the tournament by knocking off UC Irvine, LSU, California and Clemson. On the season, the Mustangs average 71.2 points on 48.3 percent shooting and allow 62.2 points on 38.3 percent shooting. SMU is a big team that relies heavily on defense and rebounding to win games. However, the Mustangs also shoot 38 percent from three and are led by Nic Moore, who leads SMU with 13.5 points and 4.8 assists. The Mustangs downfall is that they shot 68.3 percent from the free throw line and usually get off to poor starts. SMU has trailed at halftime in three of the four games in this tournament. The SMU Mustangs are 20-12 ATS overall.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers beat High Point, Saint Mary’s, Southern Miss and Florida State to make it to the NIT final. On the season, Minnesota averages 71.3 points on 44.8 percent shooting and allows 67.9 points on 42.4 percent shooting. The Golden Gophers usually rely on their stingy defense that averages 7.4 steals per game, but Minnesota is shooting the ball well lately, which includes nine threes in the win over the Seminoles. Minnesota is led by Andre Hollins, who averages 13.6 points and 3.5 rebounds. Minnesota isn’t a great three shooting team at 35.3 percent and can get careless with the ball at times with an average 11.5 turnovers. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are 16-15-1 ATS overall.
The Mustangs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games and 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games following a ATS win. The Golden Gophers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. win and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
This is a championship game that’s too close to call with both teams running hot and cold. That’s why I’m going to side with the over. The number has gone down a couple of points since opening up, and I’ll take it where it currently stands. Both offenses have the ability to get red hot and they also allow transition points.
The winner of this game should score in the 70s, pushing the projected number over the total.