Value City Arena
|Pos.||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||Ohio State Buckeyes
|F||Joey King||6.3||11.8||Lenzelle Smith Jr.||F|
|Bench||Malik Smith||9.4||5.1||Marc Loving||Bench|
|Bench||Daquein McNeil||1.8||4.5||Amedeo Della Vello
In the last meeting between these two teams Minnesota won 3 of the four factors and held Ohio State's offense to less than a point per possession. The Gophers will need a similar effort today. Ohio State is 5-1 in their last six games, but as will be apparent from the next table are still not an impressive offensive team.
Efficiency Stats (Conference Stats)
|Off Reb %||31.7%||25.9%|
|Def Reb %||68.9%||68.8%|
Ohio State remains the best defensive team in the conference. They have length, skill, and size at every position. Aaron Craft is likely to get the Tebow treatment, but he really is a fantastic defender. I assume that Ohio State will have watched the game film of Mathieu at Nebraska and against Illinois. Consequently, expect lots of trapping and hard hedging against high ball screens. Neither team rebounds the ball particularly well, so there may be opportunities for second chance points.
Keys to a Gopher Win
No Empty Possessions - Ohio State is a great defensive team and they lead the conference in turnover percentage. The Gophers can ill afford to waste any offensive possession. Points in transition will help, but the Gophers will need to convert in half court sets. Deandre Mathieu will have to play big and make smart decisions. As importantly, when the ball gets inside the bigs will have to be strong with the ball and aware of potential double teams.
Defense, Defense, Defense -Ohio State is not an excellent offensive ball club. Then again neither is Illinois and they ran circles around the Gophers defense. In the last match up the Gophers played zone extensively. Since that matchup, Minnesota has gone away from the zone. Whatever defense the Gophers come out with needs to be tough. The Gophers can also ill afford to give up easy transition baskets.
As Al Davis said, "Just win Baby"