SMU Mustangs vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Betting Line & NIT Final Prediction

Mustangs vs Golden Gophers Pick – 2014 NIT

The time has come for two teams to face off in the 2014 NIT championship. The game won’t get nearly the same coverage as the NCAA Tournament Final Four, but don’t tell that to the No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers and the No. 1 South Methodist Mustangs. [ad-4468020]

NIT Final Free Play
No. 1 SMU (27-9, 12-6 AAC) vs. No. 1 Minnesota (24-13, 8-10 Big Ten)
Thursday, April 3 7:00 p.m. ET ESPN
NIT – Championship
Spread: SMU -3
Total: 132
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Before we dive into the matchups, let’s consider the historical significance of a potential SMU victory. If the South Methodist Mustangs pull off the victory, Larry Brown, their head coach, will be the only coach in history to win an NBA championship, NCAA championship and an NIT championship in a career. The first two were done with the Detroit Pistons and the Kansas Jayhawks, and the Mustangs have a chance to help him make history by completing the trio.

In the NIT semifinals, it took a come-back effort to pull off the win. The Mustangs took down the No. 3 Clemson Tigers 65-59, doing so despite a subpar first half that saw them trailing 38-26 at intermission.

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Where SMU is going to have the advantage against Minnesota is rebounding. The team is 98th in the country at 36.3 boards per contest, but it’s the impact that Markus Kennedy, a 6’9” sophomore, will have that will make the Golden Gophers struggle.

The biggest storyline for the Mustangs will be offensive efficiency. The team is 16th in the year in field-goal percentage, shooting 48.7 percent from the floor, and if it can shoot anywhere near that number, it will make rebounding that much more important for Minnesota.


SMU may have a chance to make history with Larry Brown at the helm, but it’s the Minnesota Golden Gophers who are making their second appearance in the NIT championship in just three seasons. Unfortunately for them, their leading scorer, Andre Hollins, has struggled ever since the Big Ten tournament and he shot just 30 percent from the floor in the squad’s last outing.

As previously suggested, the two goals for Minnesota has to be as follows: crash the boards and force bad shots. These themes are going to be crucial if Hollins struggles again, as he has all tournament.

Despite Hollins’ poor shooting, the team pulled out a three-point overtime win in the semifinals over the Florida State Seminoles large in part because of the other Hollins – Andre Hollins. The guard played 41 minutes and was a big reason the team shot a blistering 45 percent from the three-point line.

If the Golden Gophers struggle from deep, this one should go SMU’s way. That said, if Minnesota gets hot from downtown, don’t be shocked to see them pull out another close win against another wuality opponent.

Prediction: Minnesota 67 – SMU 65

By Cappers Picks

Articles on are written by Q (the Head Honcho) at Cappers Picks or by our resident "in house" handicapper Razor Ray Monohan! Enjoy the free picks folks! "Pad that bankroll one day at a time!"