Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Two teams looking to re-direct the course of their season. Both teams at times have looked like Big Ten title contenders but are currently riding losing streaks.
Game Time: 6:00
Radio: AM1500 and the Gopher Radio Network
|Pos||Minnesota||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||#20 - Wisconsin
|C||Trevor Mbakwe||9.6||11.9||Jared Berggren||C
|Bench||Maverick Ahanmisi||2.4||5.0||George Marshall||Bench|
||Julian Welch||3.2||8.8||Sam Dekker||Bench|
Match-ups are not particularly important tonight. Wisconsin is the definition of team basketball and I don't see any one (or two) match-ups that stand out to me as critical or favorable for the Gophers. If I had to pick one, I would say that it is absolutely imperative that we keep Ben Brust in check. Make sure you get a hand in his face and don't let him get hot. After that I see tonight's outcome coming down to two keys...
1 - Speed up the tempo, even just a little bit. You cannot force a full-out up-tempo game against Wisconsin. By their very nature they will largely control the pace of the game. But I think it is critical that the Gophers do what they can to speed it up, just a little and make this a higher possession game. How? By pressing. Please, please, please employ a full court press.
1 - Box out and get defensive rebounds. Do not let Wisconsin gain extra possessions on their end of the floor. That not only gives them obvious extra opportunities to score but it also gives them more time of possession to control the flow of the game (and by control, I mean grind it to near-death).
Those are your two keys. The Badgers don't turn the ball over much because they employ a passive offensive game-plan that does not put them in pressure situations. We need to alter that. And then secure your defensive rebounds, ending their possessions each time down the floor.
I still believe that we play good defense and I believe we can score some points if we play to our strengths. If we play to their style, we are playing into their hands and I don't like our chances. I'll be shocked if we press and I am not expecting that we will dominate the defensive boards like we are capable. Translation...I'm not very confident about tonight's outcome