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Gophers head to Iowa City looking for their 2nd Big Ten road win of the year - OPEN THREAD

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Forget accumulating "road" wins, the Gophers need to stop the 4-game losing streak. Iowa is playing well lately having won two of their last three with the loss coming in overtime hosting Wisconsin. Maybe Wisconsin was looking past Iowa to their OSU match-up but the fact that Iowa is playing better cannot be denied.

Game Time: 5:00
TV: Big Ten Network

Pos #25 - Minnesota Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Iowa Pos
PG Blake Hoffarber 14.2
11.0 Bryce Cartwright
G Austin Hollins 4.3 12.8 Matt Gatens
F Rodney Williams 6.4
9.0 Eric May
F Trevor Mbakwe 13.2
6.6 Jarryd Cole
C Ralph Sampson III 11.1 10.8 Melsahn Basabe
Bench Colton Iverson 6.1 5.9 Roy Devyn Marble
Bench Maverick Ahanmisi
1.8 6.0 Zach McCabe
Bench Chip Armelin
3.5 Andrew Brommer

Big road game here against an improving Hawkeye team. The 10 point home win was nice last time around but you may recall that we had Al Nolen for that game who hit two threes, eight rebounds and got to the line to make 7/8 for 13 total points.

The match-up that concerns me most is whoever is defending Melsahn Basabe. The freshman had 20 points and 13 rebounds last time around and out-worked our bigs for the 35 minutes he was on the floor. What are the chances that Sampson is tired of getting ripped for his lack of effort and lack of contributions to this team outside of some scoring. Somebody (Ralph, Iverson or Mbakwe) needs to start getting physical with these guys, keep Basabe and others off the glass and control the paint.

KenPom Efficiency Stats Minnesota (47) Iowa (74)
Record 16-8 10-14
Pnt / Poss 1.117 (39) 1.031
Def Pnt / Poss 0.959 0.928 (41)
Off eFG% 50.8% 48.9%
Def eFG% 46.8% 49.5%
Off Reb % 38.6% (12) 34.9%
Def Reb % 67.6% 67.9%
TO % 20.6% 21.7% (251)

Iowa plays pretty solid defense and I assume their numbers at home are better than they are on the road. We should be able to control the boards but defensive rebounding has been an issue, especially when we play our zone. Several offensive rebounds, which might require some hustle, would go a long way towards coming out of Iowa City with a win.

The Gophers have been playing without an identity for a while now. Initially when Al Nolen was lost we made a concerted effort to pound the rock inside and that was our identity for a couple games. But since the Purdue and Indiana losses we have been floundering and struggling to play with any identity. This would be the perfect game to re-establish who we want to be and control this game against an improving but still the worst team in the Big Ten.

This game is a must win to stay ahead of the bubble, a loss would start putting any thoughts of an NCAA Tournament birth into serious question. Must win? For the first time this year I would tend to think so.