|Pos.||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||Wisconsin Badgers||Pos.|
|PG||Deandre Mathieu||11.8||10.8||Traevon Jacckson||PG|
|G||Andre Hollins||14.8||13.0||Ben Brust||G|
|G||Austin Hollins||11.8||8.8||Josh Gasser||F|
|F||Elliott Eliason||6.1||12.3||Frank Kaminsky||F|
|Bench||Malik Smith||10.0||7.8||Nigel Hayes||Bench|
|Bench||Maurice Walker||7.5||2.8||Duje Dukan||Bench|
Dre Hollins is back to near 100%, so let's hope he doesn't wreck his angle on the first possession of the game again. KenPom predicts the Gophers win this one 21% of the time and expects the score to be 73-65. BUT WHAT DO COMPUTER MODELS KNOW? It's just a lot of math to show how sweet this victory for the Gophers will be. Overcoming adversity is the best narrative.
The Badgers have not been as good at the Kohl center this year, but it remains a very tough place to play. A win tonight would give the Gophers a signature road win and move them back to .500 in Big Ten play.
Efficiency Stats (conference rank in parenthesis)
|Off PPP||1.074 (5)||1.105 (3)|
|Def PPP||1.079 (12)||1.033 (7)|
|Off TO%||18.9% (10)
|Def TO%||16.4% (9)
|Off Reb %||31.8% (4)
|Def Reb %||67% (10)
In the last game between the two the Gophers simply out-shot and out-rebounded the Badgers. There will need to be a similar effort tonight. Wisconsin remains a deadly offensive team, and if they get hot can blow out teams in a hurry. One favorable for the Gophers is that Wisconsin is not a good offensive rebounding team. In recent losses, the Gophers have been unable to protect the glass and have given teams second, third, and occasionally four chances to score on a possession. Wisconsin is unlikely to have success on the offensive glass unless something has gone terribly wrong.
Keys to a Gopher Win
Feed the Post-Did you watch the latest "Raise the Barn" on the Gopher bigs? If not go do so because it is excellent. One of the points emphasized in the latest episode is that inside scoring makes the Gophers much more difficult to defend because teams cannot stretch out their defense to take away outside shots. The Gophers will need that inside threat against Wisconsin's defense. Mo Walker had his coming out party against Wisconsin the last time these two teams met up, and he and Elliott Eliason will both need to have big games. Wisconsin has been abnormally bad defending drives, so there should be ample opportunities to get easy baskets off dribble penetration and kicking in addition to normal post feeds.
Defend the 3- In January, Minnesota held Wisconsin to an eFG% of 49% in part because of woeful outside shooting. It is highly unlikely that the Badgers will again go 5-20 from behind the arc, but it will be incumbent upon the Gophers to avoid giving wide open 3s to the Badgers. This includes securing defensive rebounds to avoid scramble situations.
Avoid Empty Possessions-The Gophers scored 81 points in 58 possessions in the previous meeting leading to a ludicrously high 1.373 PPP. In that match-up the Gophers only turned the ball over 7 times. Wisconsin does not run a defensive system that generates turnovers, but they do force teams to work for shots. For the Gophers to win tonight, they cannot help Wisconsin's defense by committing unforced errors, either through turnovers, ill-advised shots, or cheap fouls.
As always, Better Dead than Red.