|Pos.||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||Illinois Fighting Illini||Pos.|
|PG||Deandre Mathieu||11.9||11.2||Tracy Abrams||PG|
|G||Andre Hollins||14.9||4.9||Kendrick Nunn||G|
|G||Austin Hollins||11.2||16.6||Rayvonte Rice||F|
|F||Joey King||6.4||3.7||Malcolm Hill||F|
|F||Elliott Eliason||5.9||6.7||Nnanna Egwu||F|
|Bench||Malik Smith||9.8||7.4||Jon Ekey||Bench|
|Bench||Daquein McNeil||1.9||10.0||Joseph Bertrand||Bench|
|Bench||Maurice Walker||7.4||2.2||Jaylon Tate||Bench|
The Illini are fading faster than a Tubby Smith team with injuries and defections. After a promising start to the Groce era in 2012-13, his club has now lost 10 of their last 11 to cement themselves as the worst team in the Big Ten. This now has to be a win for the Golden Gophers, not a "must-win" but it really has to be a win.
Efficiency Stats (national rank in parenthesis if significant)
|Off PPP||1.147 (24)||1.031|
|Def PPP||0.998||0.966 (37)|
|Off TO%||18.0%||16.2% (46)|
|Off Reb %||33.6%||32.7%|
|Def Reb %||69.6%||69.7%|
No efficiency stats really jump out at you. This team is decent defensively and they tend not to turn the ball over. The one stat not shown here that matter and is a HUGE deal is the fact that their effective FG% is 45.8%, good for 317th in the country. So this team struggles shooting and they really struggle shooting from three.
Keys to a Gopher Win
Don't Let Them Get Hot From Three - Just I point out that this team sucks from behind the arc, that is when I expect they will get hot and beat us by nailing 11 threes for the game. Get to shooters Ekey, Rice and Bertrand.
Broken Record - don't turn the ball over, box out. Same story I've been saying all year but tonight it matters from the standpoint that if we just play our game we should be able to win. Turning the ball over and giving up a ton of offensive rebounds gives teams life, don't give this team life. Make them earn their points and I think we'll be fine.
Really the main key is just don't be complacent. Don't come into the game assuming we'll win because Illinois is in last place and we are playing at home. That won't work! This is still a Big Ten team with Big Ten talent; they've just been struggling. They want to snap out of their funk and if we look past them in any way, this may be the game that snaps them out of it. Workman-like mentality tonight; earn this win because we out-work them.