It’s easy to get depressed looking at the college basketball betting slate after the strong tournaments over the Thanksgiving week, but there are 2 key clashes in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Monday’s card worth investigating.
Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Monday, November 28, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Cassell Coliseum
Minnesota and Virginia Tech got their early season tournaments out of the way before Thanksgiving, and now the Golden Gophers and Hokies get to tip off the 24th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge with a matchup in Blacksburg.
Minnesota off Setback in SoCal Challenge
Minnesota was picked near the back of the Big Ten according to the NCAAB futures before the season got underway. The Golden Gophers could use an upset win like Monday’s game to give them momentum before a couple of early conference games after this matchup.
They suffered a 71-62 loss to UNLV at the SoCal Challenge last Wednesday, the Golden Gophers losing control when the Rebels went on a 19-4 run at the end of the first half that really decided matters.
Virginia Tech 3rd in Nation in Fewest Turnovers
Virginia Tech is in the second tier of ACC hopefuls, sitting alongside Miami and Notre Dame behind the Big 3: North Carolina, Duke, and Virginia.
The Hokies’ only loss on the young campaign came in the finals of the Charleston Classic where they fell to host Charleston, 77-75. Virginia Tech was favored by 6 and led by 3 with 4 minutes remaining before the Cougars got hot to pull off the mild upset.
Second Meeting Between Schools
Minnesota and Virginia Tech have only met once before, and that game took place in the 2011 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Golden Gophers posted a 58-55 win on their home floor with the final pushing a 3-point spread at best sportsbooks.
Final Score Hops the Total
Virginia Tech opened as 12.5-point chalk for the contest, and most sites have taken that up a hook to -13 while the total is running 129-129.5.
I like the final to surpass the total for the first of two college basketball picks on Monday.
Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Northwestern Wildcats
Monday, November 28, 2022 - 09:00 PM EST at Welsh-Ryan Arena
Putting the Pittsburgh Panthers up against the Northwestern Wildcats on the first night of the interconference event is a classic case of the networks not wanting to go up against Monday Night Football.
Northwestern Favored in Battle of Conference Longshots
Neither the Panthers nor the Wildcats will hear their names called on Selection Sunday next March, with both sides picked to finish near the bottom of what will be deep conferences in the ACC and Big Ten.
BetOnline is giving Northwestern the nod in front of the home fans by carrying the Wildcats -8.5, and the scoreboard target has been set at 129.
Both Teams Struggling From Beyond the Arc
The build-up for Pittsburgh in this matchup is a 3-game win streak the Panthers arrive in Evanston with, though that must be tempered by the fact they came against teams from the SWAC, Northeast, and Colonial.
An 80-64 decision over William & Mary was the latest dubya Pittsburgh added to its ledger, Blake Hinson (17 pts, 11 reb) picking up his second double-double of the campaign while Nike Sibande (15 pts, 9 reb) just missed his first.
Northwestern made it to the finals last week in the Cancun Challenge where they fell 43-42 to Auburn, the contest providing examples of some very good defense and very bad offense as the 2 sides combined to shoot 25.4% overall, and a pathetic 15.5% from 3-point range.
Pittsburgh With a 5-1 Lead vs. Northwestern All-Time
The Panthers traveled to Evanston for this same event just 2 years ago and took down the Wildcats by a 71-70 final as 3-point underdogs on the NCAAB odds. The victory left Pittsburgh 5-1 against Northwestern in the history of their series.
Northwestern is 10-13 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge after falling on the road to Wake Forest last year. Pittsburgh is 4-4 in the event, dropping a close one at home to Minnesota a season ago.
Northwestern Ekes Out Home Cover
Pittsburgh has been able to find the net from outside during the 3-game win streak, but the Panthers struggled to do so against some of their bigger opponents like West Virginia and Michigan.
As long as Northwestern can generate any kind of perimeter defense and keep the Panthers from many second-chance opportunities, the Wildcats should be able to bring home the cover.
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NCAAB Pick: Northwestern -8.5 (-110) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.