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Gophers in Indiana looking to sweep the Hoosiers - OPEN THREAD

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Yuck, a 5:30 start, guess I'll have to leave work early. The Gophers look to earn a much needed road win in Bloomington where the Hoosiers haven't lost since December 31st (so it was only 2 games but they were wins).

Game Time: 5:30
TV: Big Ten Network

Pos #18 - Minnesota Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Indiana Pos
PG Blake Hoffarber 14.0
10.8 Jordan Hulls
G
G Austin Hollins 3.6 3.9 Jeremiah Rivers G
F Rodney Williams 6.5
7.7 Victor Oladipo F
F Trevor Mbakwe 13.6
4.4 Will Sheehey F
C Ralph Sampson III 10.8 1.7 Tom Pritchard
F
Bench Colton Iverson 6.8 3.7 Matt Roth
Bench
Bench Maverick Ahanmisi
1.9 1.4 Bobby Capobianco Bench
Bench Chip Armelin
3.7
5.6 Derek Elston Bench

Maurice Creek is out, Christian Watford is now out and Verdell Jones III are unexpected to play. This is a rare stretch of the ball bouncing our way for a change. We don't have Nolen but they lost three of their best players, I'll take that. With that said the Hoosiers have been playing better lately and actually beat Illinois at home before taking Michigan State to OT on the road last week, both games without Creek and Jones. Now they lose their leading scorer so I'm feeling much better about this game than I did 24 hours ago.

I don't see how Tubby can start his big lineup again tonight. We'd give them some match-up problems when we had the ball but we'd also struggle defending their quicker lineup. I'm guessing we go with a more traditional lineup but still pound the ball inside all night long while. Starting Hollins is a total guess but he played a lot of minutes in the Purdue loss and it appears to me that Tubby trusts him more than the other freshmen at this point.

KenPom Efficiency Stats Minnesota (43) Indiana (60)
Record 16-5 11-11
Pnt / Poss 1.129 (35) 1.112
Def Pnt / Poss 0.959 0.975
Off eFG% 51.6% 54.2% (25)
Def eFG% 46.9% 47.9%
Off Reb % 38.8% (13) 34.2%
Def Reb % 68.3% 69.4%
TO % 20.3% 20.7%

Most of the numbers for both teams have stayed relatively the same, while both teams overall ranking has improved by 10+ spots with a few key wins for Minnesota and improved play by Indiana. In the first game the Gophers dominated the glass grabbing 56% of our own misses and we did a very nice job of holding Indiana to a poor night shooting (43.4% eFG). Can they do that all on the road and cut down on their turnovers without their point guard?

The paint, the paint, the paint. That is what matters most for the Gophers. We should be able to pound the ball inside and score possession after possession if we stay with the game plan. In the Purdue game I feel like we stuck with the game plan for about 18 minutes. Then Purdue went on a run and controlled the tempo from that point on. It is tough to do on the road, in the Big Ten with only one senior guard on your roster; but you have to control tempo and stick with your game plan. This is the key for the Gophers. Control tempo by pounding the ball inside on every single possession. Do this first and then the perimeter will open up for Hoffarber and anyone else who thinks they can shoot outside.

I like our chances and this is a win we have to have to stay north of the bubble by the end of the month. I firmly believe we need four more wins before the Big Ten Tournament to stay safely in the NCAA Tournament, this has to be one of them.