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Gophers Head to Michigan State Looking For 4th Straight Win - OPEN THREAD

The Gophers are looking for their first win in East Lansing since 1997. Can they break the losing-streak tonight? Can they get back to .500 in the Big Ten?

Game Time: 7:30

Pos Minnesota (15-5) Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Michigan State (16-4) Pos
PG Julian Welch 10.6 12.6 Keith Appling
G Joe Coleman 6.0 9.7 Brandon Wood G
F Austin Hollins 8.9 8.2 Branden Dawson
F Rodney Williams 10.7 15.0 Draymond Green F
C Ralph Sampson III 8.3 6.8 Adreian Payne F
Bench Andre Hollins 5.4 8.2 Derrick Nix Bench
Bench Chip Armelin 6.0 5.6 Travis Trice
Bench Eliott Eliason
2.4 4.8 Austin Thornton

This is a good Michigan State lineup that executes very well on both ends of the floor. Overall it isn't as intimidating of a lineup as we have seen in the past but Draymond Green is a great power forward and one of the most fun kids in the Big Ten to watch. He is a double-double machine, much like our own Trevor Mbakwe. But he has a motor, he plays with passion and he has fun out on the court; easily one of my favorite Big Ten players. But putting my Draymond love aside, he is a beast and how we will defend him concerns me.

Rodney Williams is a great match-up for us when he is guarding slighter power forwards, but he does not seem to fare well in the paint against big and strong forwards. Can he create a mismatch by pulling Green out to the perimeter? Yes, on offense. But defending the larger yet nimble Green is going to be a mismatch in favor of the Spartans.

After that match-up the one I'm most intrigued with is what will Tom Izzo do with Joe Coleman? He has been hot over the last few games and you know that Izzo will find a way to keep Coleman out of the paint and away from the free throw line. It might be up to others tonight to draw some attention before Joe can get into an offensive rhythm.

KenPom Efficiency Stats Minnesota (45) Michigan State (4)
Record 15-5 16-4
Pnt / Poss 1.090 1.167 (8)
Def Pnt / Poss 0.936 0.869 (8)
Off eFG% 52.6% (49)
53.4% (35)
Def eFG% 47.2% 43.4% (14)
Off Reb % 36.2% 38.9% (18)
Def Reb % 67.5% 72.8% (18)
TO % 21.4% 20.0%

Statistically this is an awful matchup for us. Sometimes systems and coaches do not match-up very well. I believe there is a reason why Izzo is 9-1 against Tubby and it is more than just a talent differential. On the other side of the coin I think we have a favorable system match-up with Wisconsin (3-3 record in Tubby era). But Michigan State is a team that is too patient as they execute their offense, they rebound better than anyone in the conference and they play sound defense not giving up very many easy baskets. If there is one area where Izzo teams tend to struggle it can be with turnovers. Over the last few years the Gophers have not done a great job of forcing Spartan turnovers but it can be an issue that bites them.

I do not think this game is unwinable, but we will have to control the boards and force some turnovers that lead to baskets. Michigan State has lost two of their last three but those were road losses and they have been playing very well at home.

I wouldn't say that I'm confident we will win this game but with the way we have been playing for two weeks I do expect that this will be a very good game. Can we pull out another road upset over a ranked team?