The Gophers are in the midst of a five game stretch vs. ho-hum opponents who are stepping up to the Barn floor for the sole purpose of getting the Gophers ready for Big Ten basketball. Today's opponent is the Hawks of Saint Joeseph's. At the very least this is a team we have heard of, but this NOT the Jameer Nelson led team that earned a #1 seed and made a run to the Elite Eight back in 2004.
The 2009-10 version of the Hawks features balanced scoring with five guys averaging between 9.0 and 13.0 ppg. They started the season 3-0 with a win over Boston College but have since dropped five in a row. Do not underestimate this team however. Phil Martelli is a very good coach and this team will get better. Their most recent loss was a hard fought, eight point loss to Villanova.
As a team the Hawks have struggled with defending teams well and have REALLY struggled with rebounding.
If the Gophers take care of business on the boards and can generate some turnovers they should be OK, but we have not been a great rebounding team and if this becomes a half-court game we could really be in trouble.
Keys to the Game
- REBOUND - the Hawks already struggle on both ends of the floor in this area. Sometimes we clean the glass and other times we really stink in this area. The point of this game is to get better and start doing some things well.
Execute - If this becomes a transition game, I'm certain we will win. But I kind of want this to become a half-court game that forces us to learn to execute an offense and play some half-court defense.
Keep Hoffarber hot - he has had a couple very good games in a row. He is our best passer, our best shooter and has great basketball IQ (if only he had some athleticism).