Gophers vs. Middle Tennessee State in NIT Quarterfinals - OPEN THREAD

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One game from NYC but first a trip to the nearly equally cosmopolitan Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Game Time: 6:00 PM

Pos Minnesota (21-14)
Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Middle Tennessee St (27-6)
PG Julian Welch 10.2 6.0 Bruce Massey G
G Andre Hollins 8.1 8.2 Raymond Cintron G
F Austin Hollins 9.0 11.6 Marcos Knight F
F Rodney Williams 11.7 10.6 J.T. Sulton F
C Elliott Eliason 2.5 14.7 LaRon Dendy C
Bench Joe Coleman 5.6 7.4 Shawn Jones Bench
Chip Armelin
5.5 4.9 Kerry Hammonds Bench
Andre Ingram 1.4 3.9 James Gallman Bench

This game concerns me a little more. The Blue Raiders were playing all season and seemed destined to earn an NCAA Tournament berth, but they dropped just one game they ought not have. Beating the in-state, big school on Monday was a huge win for their program so it is entirely possible we catch them with a bit of a hangover from that big one. One thing is for sure, the environment at Thompson-Boling Arena will be a completely different planet than the environment on Monday night in Coral Gables. Middle Tennessee State is playing for something, they have some pride and will not roll over for the Golden Gophers.

MTSU is a smaller team that plays much better defense (statistically speaking) than Miami. They also are not all that reliant on the three-point shot. Only 19.7% of their points comes from behind the arc (328th in the nation) and considering they are not terribly big, I imagine this is a dribble-penetration offense that gets to the rim. Their statistical weaknesses are defensive rebounding and offensive turnovers. They are not terrible at either but they are not very good either.

Once again this is going to be about coming ready to play. If Minnesota plays on both ends of the floor with the same passion they have been displaying for a couple weeks, I think we will be OK. Middle Tennessee St will be hyped up and ready to earn a trip to NYC. But don't discount the fact that Austin and Andre Hollins are playing in their home state for the first time since high school They should be equally up for this unique game.

Should be a lot of fun with a trip to New York on the line.

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