PINNACLE BANK Arena
|Pos.||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||Nebraska Cornhuskers||Pos.|
|PG||Deandre Mathieu||11.6||8.1||Ray Gallegos||PG|
|G||Malik Smith||9.8||5.7||Tai Webster||G|
|G||Austin Hollins||11.8||17.2||Terran Petteway||F|
|F||Oto Osenieks||7.1||11.1||Shavon Shields||F|
|F||Elliott Eliason||6.5||7.9||Walter Pitchford||F|
|Bench||Maurice Walker||5.9||9.9||Deverell Biggs||Bench|
|Bench||Joey King||6.5||7.6||Leslee Smith||Bench|
|Bench||Maverick Ahanmisi||1.9||1.4||Benny Parker||Bench|
The obvious hole here is the lack of Andre Hollins for the Gophers. The rest of the roster really stepped up their game in his absence and they rolled to a big win over Wisconsin. How will they respond after a few days to get used to missing him?
Efficiency Stats (national rank in parenthesis if significant)
|Off PPP||1.169 (16)||1.073|
|Off Reb %||35.6%||28.4%|
|Def Reb %||69.1%||71.2%|
And nothing really stands out here as alarming or as a nice advantage for the Gophers. This is a team that plays rather well at home, a fact that is substantiated by scores and by stats. They gave away a one-point loss to Michigan and then managed to beat Ohio State, both games at home. On the road they were blown out by Ohio State, lost at Purdue and lost on Thursday night at Penn State. Two different teams. This concerns me.
Ken Pom says we are a 59% favorite and this is supposed to be our closest game of the next four.
Keys to a Gopher Win
Get it Done Defensively - This team played great, team defense in the Wisconsin win. And now that we are on the road, we need to worry more about stopping Nebraska than we do about beating them with our offense. Do not let them get into a rhythm and gain confidence with their offense. If we can make every possession difficult for them, that will go a long way towards coming out of Nebraska with a win.
Be Aggressive Offensively - Nebraska tends to put teams on the free throw line more than others. We just happen to be a very good free throw shooting team. I don't want an ugly game with free throws on every other possession, but I do want to see us be aggressive to the basket and if we draw fouls; great!
I am nervous about this one and I hope Pitino has these kids ready to play. It is easy as a player or team to fall into the false sense of security that we are supposed to be better than team B so the attitude or "edge" isn't the same as it is for other opponents. That leads to playing down to their level and potentially coming away with a loss. Don't play down to their level, come out with toughness and get a nice road win. I expect Coach Pitino is pushing (or at least trying to push) the right buttons. I'm expecting a good game-plan and more toughness out of our Golden Gophers.