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Gophers would LOVE to Beat the Buckeyes on Valentine's Day - OPEN THREAD

The late game on ESPN might be perfect timing for Gopher fans who also have to give some time

Game Time: 8:00

Pos Minnesota Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm #6 - Ohio State Pos
PG Julian Welch 10.1 8.4 Aaron Craft
G Andre Hollins 6.2 6.1 Lenzelle Smith Jr. G
F Austin Hollins 8.5 15.0 William Buford
F Rodney Williams 10.7 14.3 Deshaun Thomas F
C Ralph Sampson III 8.2 17.4 Jared Sullinger F
Bench Joe Coleman 5.6 2.6 Sam Thompson Bench
Bench Chip Armelin 6.4 4.3 Evan Ravenel
Bench Eliott Eliason
2.4 X.X J.D. Weatherspoon

By most accounts it looks like Andre Hollins will be back in the starting lineup, replacing Joe Coleman. I'd actually love to see Coleman and Hollins starting with Welch coming off the bench. Let the freshmen play together and learn to play off each other as they'll be doing for the next 3 and a half years. But I digress.

I like the match-up between these two teams MUCH better if Trevor Mbakwe were to be facing Jared Sullinger, that was fun to watch last year. But obviously he is not and the Buckeyes have more dynamic players other than just Sullinger. There is a reason that this team has been ranked in the top 10 virtually all year (or maybe literally all year, I haven't looked it up). Sullinger is going to be an All-American, Thomas is having a great sophomore season, Craft is one of the best points in the conference and Buford is a very talented senior giving some veteranship to this young team.

Just looking over the rosters, if the Gophers have one area where they can maybe gain some traction tonight it will be with their depth. OSU's starters play a lot of minutes and they just played a game on Saturday night (we played on Thursday). So maybe we can catch them on a night when their legs are tired and they are looking ahead to their game on Saturday at Michigan.

KenPom Efficiency Stats Minnesota (45) Ohio State (1)
Record 17-8 21-4
Pnt / Poss 1.085 1.141 (15)
Def Pnt / Poss 0.942 0.804 (1)
Off eFG% 52.3%
Def eFG% 47.1% 45.3% (42)
Off Reb % 35.4% 35.3%
Def Reb % 67.1% 75.4% (3)
TO % 21.7% 17.1% (19)

They defend great, they rebound great and they do not turn the ball over (this reminds me of Wisconsin). The numbers do not look pretty and the KenPom predictor gives us a 17% chance of winning this home game. That seems generous to me.

Rebounding concerns me today. There will be times when we struggle to score, as we often do. There will be times when we struggle to stop a team as dynamic and Ohio State. But we can control if we box out and secure rebounds, I'm just not sure we will do that as well as we should.

This is one of those games where I expect the worst and hope for the best. Ohio State is very good and has a legit shot at the Final Four (though their lack of depth may become an issue). I like how the Gophers have been tough and competitive in just about every game played, I do not expect we will roll over tonight. But this is an uphill climb.