Madison Square Garden
|Pos.||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||Southern Mississippi||Pos.|
|PG||Deandre Mathieu||12.0||13.7||Ian Miller||PG|
|G||Andre Hollins||13.8||14.8||Aaron Thomas||G|
|G||Austin Hollins||11.5||7.7||Montay Brandon||F|
|F||Joey King||7.0||13.5||Okaro White||F|
|F||Maurice Walker||5.2||2.5||Michael Ojo||F|
|Bench||Elliott Eliason||7.8||8.3||Devon Bookert||Bench|
|Bench||Daquein McNeil||1.7||5.9||Boris Bojanovsky||Bench|
|Bench||Maverick Ahanmisi||3.0||2.4||Jarquez Smith||Bench|
News broke yesterday that Oto Osenieks may play in tonight's NIT Semi-Final game. This is probably a clever coaching trick to force Florida State to change their game-plan now that Oto is back in play. Or it will have very little impact on the game other than giving us another bigger body now that Eliason has a bum ankle.
Florida State's Ian Miller has some injury issues of his own. I'm sure he'll be playing but his effectiveness may be slightly limited.
Efficiency Stats (national rank in parenthesis if significant)
|Off TO%||18.0%||21.2% (320)|
|Off Reb %||31.6%||34.5%|
|Def Reb %||69.2%||64.1% (329)|
Turnovers and rebounding are going to be huge tonight. Florida State gives up a ton of offensive rebounds and they turn the ball over a lot. When they lost to Minnesota in December they turned the ball over 26.6% of their possessions and we snagged 33.3% of our own misses. They out-shot us but we had more shots attempted and we got to the free throw line a lot.
There are multiple scenarios that could play out tonight but I think forcing some turnovers and getting some offensive rebounds will help a lot.
Keys to a Gopher Win
Limited Turnovers for Mathieu - Deandre needs to play fast but play under control. When we beat FSU we had a 9.4% turnover percentage, one of our lowest against any D1 team not named High Point. I think they will turn it over and we match them turnover for turnover then we'll struggle to keep up with them offensively. So often our turnover issues start with Mathieu, if he can play well without turning it over then I like our chances.
What Happens With Frontcourt Minutes- The Seminoles have good size and are athletic along their front-line. We have good size but are not terribly athletic. With Eliason being limited tonight due to his sprained ankle, we are going to need more good minutes out of Walker and this might be the kind of game where Charles Buggs can play some effective minutes (maybe). This is going to be an interesting puzzle for Coach Pitino to solve tonight.