Maui Invitational Game 2: Gopher Basketball Faces Arkansas - OPEN THREAD

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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Maui Invitational game 2.

Time: 1:00 CST
TV: ESPN2
Radio: AM 1500 ESPN

In my opinion this one to me is much more important than the Syracuse game. Chances of beating a top 10 team, particularly with our frontcourt matchups, was unlikely. But now you are facing a BCS conference opponent who is expected to finish in the bottom half of the SEC. Battling with Syracuse tells me that we have a team who can compete and is willing to go to war with anybody, but if you want to be a good team you need to beat a team like Arkansas.

Pos.

Minnesota Golden Gophers
(5-1)

Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Arkansas Razorbacks (3-1) Pos.
PG Deandre Mathieu 9.2 2.0 Fred Gulley III PG
G Andre Hollins 18.0 13.3 Anthlon Bell G
G Austin Hollins 12.8 17.5 Michael Qualls F
F Oto Osenieks 9.0 5.5 Coty Clarke F
F Elliot Eliason 7.3 8.3 Bobby Portis F
Bench Malik Smith 8.2 15.8 Alandise Harris Bench
Bench Joey King 10.0 4.8 Mardracus Wade Bench
Bench Maurice Walker -- 7.3 Rashad Madden Bench

The Gophers get Maurice Walker back today, and considering how much we were hurt in the frontcourt yesterday I expect we will see him play.

Looking at Arkansas box scores, it is hard to get a read on who exactly is getting the majority of their minutes. It looks to me like a couple of their starting guards were benched to start the game due to possibly missing a team meeting. I am guessing they'll start today.

Maroon_key_medium
Limit Turnovers -
Yesterday the Gophers has 12 first half turnovers giving Syracuse way too many offensive possessions. This was a half where we shot the ball pretty well, having several of those back would have made a pretty big difference. Turns out Arkansas has been pretty good at forcing turnoversrs this year, to the tune of 26.2% of their opponent's possessions. This really might be the one and only key to the game today. We are facing another athletic team who also crashes the boards a little, but we cannot turn the ball over as much as we have lately. Limit turnovers and I think we win, I'm not going to include a 2nd key.

To get some pre-game info I went to SBN's Arkansas Fight and I picked up on 2 important things.

1 - Anthlon Bell has a green light that might rival Marshall Henderson. Hopefully the Gopher defenders don't give him many open looks and make him take crappy shots. Guys like this can get hot and make terrible shots if they are allowed to knock down a few open looks and get in a rhythm.

2 - They don't box out, so this this is a chance for our frontcourt to get some offensive boards and flip the script on gaining extra possessions. If you haven't been around TDG for a while, you may not know that possessions are something I harp on and passionately believe change your fortunes as a basketball team.

Limit turnovers, box out.

Then create turnovers and crash the boards.

The more possessions you have, the more opportunities you have to score.

The more opportunities you have to score, the more total baskets you will make.

The more baskets you make (and the fewer you allow your opponent to make) the more games you will win.

We failed at this formula yesterday, we need to flip it around today and we'll come away with a win. Winner today likely plays Gonzaga, loser has to play host Chaminade. I'd like to face Sam Dower and the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Win this game!

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