In their first meeting, Minnesota played 34 minutes of great basketball and six minutes of hot garbage masquerading as basketball. In order to beat Purdue on the road, they will need to play well for the full 40 minutes.
|Pos.||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||Purdue Boilermakers||Pos.|
|PG||Deandre Mathieu||11.5||10.7||Ronnie Johnson||G|
|G||Austin Hollins||11.7||5.9||Basil Smotherman||
|F||Oto Osenieks||6.9||4.5||Rapheal Davis||
|F||Elliott Eliason||6.3||10.4||A.J. Hammons||
|Bench||Daquein McNeil||1.7||7.0||Kendall Stephens||Bench|
|Bench||Maurice Walker||6.5||4.3||Errick Peck||Bench|
Injury Notes: Andre Hollins is unexpected to play.
Efficiency Stats (Conference rank in parenthesis)
|Minnesota (35)||Purdue (85)|
|Off PPP||1.089||.988 (8)
|Off TO%||19.3% (10)
|Def TO%||15.1%||15.9% (9)
|Off Reb %||32.3%||36.3% (2)|
|Def Reb %||71.7%||71.0%|
Purdue is on a four game losing streak and are outside the RPI top 100, so a loss today is technically a "bad loss." The Boilermakers struggle in areas that are Gopher strengths, and KenPom's log5 predicts a two point Minnesota win. Of course it is a road game in February where the Gophers will once again be without their best player, so you can be forgiven for being skeptical at that prediction. Tournament teams find ways to overcome adversity and steal wins on the road. Today will help determine whether the Gophers can rightfully claim to be considered as one.
Keys to a Gopher Win
Prevent Dribble Penetration - In the first meeting between Minnesota and Purdue, two facts were obvious. Purdue could not shoot from outside and Minnesota could not defend the lane. The former remains true in the second match up. Purdue ranks last in the conference in percentage of total points coming from 3-pointers. If the Gophers are able to keep Purdue out of the lane, they should win.
Neutralize A.J. Hammons- Hammons is an excellent two-way player who is able to use his size and strength to get good position and easy shots around the basket. Despite his talent, he is prone to disappearing against good defenses. Assuming the Gophers play zone (which they should see the first key), the back line will have to make sure that he cannot get good position. Elliott Eliason dominated this match up in Minneapolis, and either he or Mo Walker will need a similar performance in West Lafayette.
Secondary Scoring- Mo Walker's scoring has been a welcome surprise, but he cannot carry the load on offense by himself. The game should be up-tempo, so there will be plenty of opportunities for other Gophers to get opportunities. Whether it is Malik Smith, DeAndre Mathieu, or Eliason the Gophers need someone else to make shots if they are to pull off a road win.