USA TODAY Sports
Game Time: 6:00
Radio: AM1500 and the Gopher Radio Network
|Pos||#9 - Minnesota||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||Northwestern
|C||Trevor Mbakwe||9.0||7.2||Alex Olah||C
|Bench||Maverick Ahanmisi||4.6||3.9||Alex Marcotullio||Bench|
||Julian Welch||3.7||5.2||Tre Demps||Bench|
Don't get beat back-door, don't get beat back-door, don't get beat back-door..DOH!
The talent between these two rosters is not close, not this year anyway. With the suspension of Jershon Cobb and then the season ending injury to Drew Crawford, the hopes for an NCAA Tournament bid were severely hampered (if not officially stomped out). But do not sleep on the Wildcats! They will certainly finish in the bottom three of the conference but the first team to take them lightly will lose. They are now a young team with four or five freshmen getting action on a nightly basis. Then they have a few seniors to help guide them through the rigors of a Big Ten season. Hearn, Sobolewski, Marcotullio and Swopshire are not going to go down without a fight and they know how to play in the Big Ten. Do not assume Northwestern will go away quietly unless we give them a good reason to.
Coach Bill Carmody typically has his team playing well together and if fall asleep on D you will get burned for a lay-up or given up a wide open three.
|KenPom Efficiency Stats||Minnesota (12)
|Pnt / Poss||1.147 (15)||1.035|
|Def Pnt / Poss||0.877 (20)
|Def eFG%||42.9% (28)
|Off Reb %||48.7% (1)||29.7%|
|Def Reb %||64.2% (287)
|TO %||21.6%||17.5 (34)|
Statistically Northwestern doesn't turn the ball over and they are a pretty good three-point shooting team. Where Minnesota will have a significant advantage is defensively and on the offensive glass. I fully expect our physical defense will really make life difficult for Northwestern all day long. And it has been well established that we are a pretty good offensive rebounding team, Northwestern will likely use that 1-3-1 but we should get a lot of offensive rebounds because of it. Plenty of extra opportunities and I think the veteran Gopher backcourt will figure out how to hit the 1-3-1 where it hurts and get some easy ones.
With several days to prepare and with this being at home I am very confident the Gophers will move to 2-0 in the Big Ten. Pay attention, be ready to play and expect that if you don't show up you will get beat.