|Pos.||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||Wisconsin Badgers||Pos.|
|PG||Deandre Mathieu||11.9||9.5||Kerry Carter||PG|
|G||Andre Hollins||14.1||9.8||James Walker III||G|
|G||Austin Hollins||11.5||14.9||Stephen Holt||F|
|F||Elliott Eliason||5.3||15.5||Brad Wadlow||F|
|Bench||Malik Smith||7.7||3.0||Jordan Giusti||Bench|
|Bench||Maurice Walker||7.9||4.0||Garrett Jackson||Bench|
The Gophers take on St. Mary's in the second round of the NIT today. The game will be televised on a real channel that people actually get, so there should be more eyeballs. Of course, it goes up against NCAA Tournament action, but everyone should have at least 3 television devoted to basketball this time of year so you have no excuse.
One quick injury update. Deandre Mathieu is expected to play today after suffering a hip injury in the Gophers win over High Point.
|Off Reb %||32.1%
|Def Reb %||69.4%
A quick glance at the efficiency statistics shows that the two teams are pretty evenly matched. The Gophers have an advantage on offense while St. Mary's is a better rebounding team. Minnesota does have a size advantage as only one player on St. Mary's is over 6'9.
KenPom puts this game as a Minnesota win 68% of the time. Interestingly, neither team plays particularly up tempo. St. Mary's is 313 in the nation in adjusted tempo. I think that the Gophers can play at a higher pace, and that may be a difference tonight.
Keys to a Gopher Win
Don't Be Careless - Last game, Minnesota didn't turn the ball over for the first 25 minutes. A similar performance tonight would be advantageous. If the Gophers can keep careless mistakes to a minimum, they should be able to ride out any potential offensive lulls. St. Mary's likely prefers a slow game (based on statistics think Wisconsin), meaning that possessions will be even more valuable than usual.
Rebound Like Crazy - Given the closeness of the two teams on offense, the Gophers will have to rebound by committee tonight. Giving the Gaels additional opportunities will end poorly for Minnesota. Mo Walker, Elliott Eliason, Joey King and Charles Buggs will need to be effective boxing out on defense.
I believe today's game has the potential to be a very good game between two similar teams. If all goes right, this game will be highly watchable and end with a Gophers win.