Tip is 6 p.m. central time. Free streaming video should be available here.
As we prepare for the game, a few observations from last night's 68-61 closer-than-it-should've-been win over Bowling Green Saturday night.
- As was the case last year, the Gophers struggled offensively, especially during the second half when Bowling Green came back. When the team isn't creating turnovers and easy baskets the offense gets ugly.
- During its second half comeback, Bowling Green incessantly ran a simple pick and roll at the top of the arc. Minnesota struggled the entire second half defending this. I expect Tubby to spend some time in practice working on defending the pick and roll.
- The Gophers can block shots! They blocked 17 last night, a school record. Colton Iverson was a big part of that. He had nine blocks. He played 28 minutes compared to 12 for Ralph Sampson III. Iverson is obviously more ready to play at this point.
- Lawrence Westbrook was relatively cold last night (6-14) but he kept looking for his shot and led the team with 20 points. I'd like to see the Gophers run him off of screens more often.
- The Gophers barely outrebounded BGSU 41-38 but the second half it felt like BGSU won the battle on the boards. The Gophers are undersized right now, but they have to do a better job boxing out.
- Jamal Abu-Shamla hit two key shots last night when BGSU cut the lead to 5 and 3 points last night. I'm not a huge fan of JAS, but if he can provide some calm senior leadership then he can play a big role on this team.
- Devron Bostick, Paul Carter and Devoe Joseph are still getting comfortable. Joseph specifically found himself with a Tubby Smith in his ear after at least one ill-advised quick shot.
So, we escaped a late run from Bowling Green, what should we look for tonight.
- Shooting percentage: Three games in three days isn't fun for anyone. Is the team in good physical condition. If it's not, we'll see that show up with the jump shooters tonight. Last night the Gophers shot 48 percent in the first half before tailing off to 36 percent in the second.
- Rebounding: The game last night would have been comfortably in the double digits had we not given BGSU 17 offensive rebounds. That's too many second chance points.
- Carter, Bostick, Joseph: Which one is going to be the first to step up with a big game. My money is on Bostick tonight. Just a gut feeling.
- Al Nolen: The Gophers have been best through two games when he has looked for his shot. He did in game one and not so much in game two, though he did lead the team with 9 assists last night.
That's it for now. If you're around feel free to chat about the game in the thread below.