the Gophers look to beat the U as the Big Ten strives to win the Challenge.
Miami is 7-0 and have some impressive wins on their early season resume. Here is who they have defeated thus far...
- North Carolina (that's North Carolina Central Eagles)
- Nova (Nova Southeastern, that's somewhere in Florida)
Florida (the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles)
USC (USC Upstate Spartans, whatever that is)
OK, so they haven't really played anybody. Their lone semi-quality win is 15 point win over South Carolina (the real South Carolina) in the championship game of the Charleston Classic. Ultimately this game is a must-win for the Gophers. Miami is undefeated but they were picked to finish 10th in the ACC, maybe they surpass expectations but if you want to be taken seriously this is a game you win.
Here is why the Gophers will win. We are at our best when we are forcing turnovers AND turning those gifts into easy baskets. Well Miami turns the ball over a LOT. Currently they rank 329th in % of possessions where they turn the ball over. And the Gophers rank 5th in the country forcing turnovers. This seems like a match made in Gopher Nation heaven.
If all goes according to plan the Gophers should be able to generate offense from their defense and when they do that they score with great efficiency and usually win. Miami could mitigate this issue by shooting really well (which they do) and by dominating the boards (which they are capable of).
The interesting match-up will be Dwayne Collins vs. whoever plays PF for the Gophers. He is a strong PF, which we are lacking and this match-up could be an X-factor swinging the balance of the game back to the Hurricane's favor.
If Miami out hustles Minnesota and manages to hang on to the ball then this becomes the third loss in a row. Ultimately though, I think if the Gophers show a little bit of life defensively and on the boards we should be fine.