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Gophers Host Michigan Wolverines to Start Conference Play - OPEN THREAD

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The first Big Ten game of the year.

Time: 6:00 CST
Radio: AM 1500 ESPN

Pos. Minnesota Golden Gophers Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Michigan Wolverines Pos.
PG Deandre Mathieu 11.5 7.7 Derrick Walton Jr. PG
G Andre Hollins 16.2 13.1 Caris LeVert G
G Austin Hollins 13.5 18.2 Nik Stauskas F
F Oto Osenieks 7.2 14.2 Glenn Robinson III F
F Elliott Eliason 5.8 4.2 Jon Horford F
Bench Malik Smith 9.8 3.0 Jordan Morgan Bench
Bench Joey King 7.5 4.3 Spike Albrecht Bench
Bench Maurice Walker 5.4 7.6 Zak Irvin Bench

The roster is a tiny bit thinner with the loss of Mitch McGary to injury, but you may recognize many of the names above as they were vital in Michigan making it to the national championship game. I fear the matchup of Oto guarding Glenn Robinson III.

Efficiency Stats (national rank in parenthesis if significant)

Minnesota (34) Michigan (20)
Off PPP 1.139 (23) 1.154 (15)
Def PPP 0.982 0.969
Off TO% 16.3% 13.8% (7)
Def TO% 20.9% 18.2%
Off Reb % 36.4% 31.6%
Def Reb % 70.6% 73.8% (22)

John Beilein's teams all rebound the defensive ball very well, they don't turn the ball over and they shoot the ball very well. Considering they don't typically turn the ball over and they shoot the ball well, I think this is going to be a difficult game for the Gophers to win. I've said this a few times around here and I'll say it all year long...we either have to accumulate more possessions (shots really) than the other team or we have to out-shoot them. Both are going to be difficult against Michigan who tends to just not lose the possession game and then they will be happy to out-shoot you.

Keys to a Gopher Win

Get To Shooters -
Michigan is a good shooting team. Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert, Spike Albrecht and even Glenn Robinson III can all make a lot of threes if you let them get a rhythm. The Gopher defense cannot let them get into this rhythm. It is cold outside, the Barn has this weird raised floor and the Gopher D should be physical to get their offense off-balance.

Maroon_key_mediumApply Pressure, Lots of Pressure - I know I said they don't turn the ball over much, but we have to find a way to generate some turnovers. I'll be most curious to watch the match-up of Mathieu guarding freshman guard, Derrick Walton Jr. He is most prone to turnovers on the Michigan roster and Mathieu leads the Gophers in steals, maybe we can turn up the heat there to get a few turnovers.

A good early test for the Gophers and a great team to tip off the home, Big Ten season against. A win here is not impossible and would be a nice start to the B1G.