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Basketball: Previewing Minnesota-Furman

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Another non-conference game against a bad team.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The University of Minnesota basketball team takes on the Furman University Paladins tonight.

Game Details

Opponent: Furman University Paladins

Where: Williams Arena

When: 7pm CST

Watch: ESPN3

Listen: 1500 ESPN

Three Points

1. What is a Paladin?

Furman University is 2-7 on the season, but they do have a great mascot name. The Paladins were the foremost warriors in Charlemagne's court. In the French literary cycle the "Matter of France" they first appear in the The Song of Roland represent Christian valor against the Saracen hordes. Wikipedia says that their exploits are largely fictitious. All of that detail is merely an excuse to link to Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.

In contrast to their legendary mascot, Furman's basketball team is decidedly unheroic. The Paladins are the 297th ranked team in the country by KenPom and have a negative point differential of 10 points per 100 possessions. Furman only have two players that can score the basketball with any consistency, freshman forward Geoff Beans and junior guard Stephen Croone. They also like to run, averaging about 67 possessions per game. Not being able to score while trying to push the tempo is not the way to win basketball games.

2. Will the Gophers score more than 80 points?

Minnesota has scored 84 or more points in each of their last five games. Even noting the general malaise that has been the non-conference schedule, the Gophers have only scored 80 or more points in five or more games three times in history. Were they to score 80 points tonight, it would be the first time since the 1992 season that the Gophers had scored 80 or more points in six straight games. Minnesota has been putting up points by getting turnovers and transition baskets. By KenPom, the Gophers are second in the nation in steal percentage. Consequently, Minnesota is getting easy shot opportunities that they are converting at a high rate. Fun fact for tonight: Furman turns the ball over a lot.

3. Will a Walk-on make a basket?

If the backups are not seeing heavy minutes tonight, something has gone extremely wrong. Expect to see Kendal Shell, Bakary Konate, Charles Buggs, and hopefully Gaston Diedhiou and Mike Lukashewich in the second half. Lukashewich passed up a wide open three pointer in the second half against Seattle, completely forgetting that his role is to chuck whenever possible.

Predictions

  • Gophers win 85-62, their sixth straight game scoring 80 or more points.
  • At least five Gophers score in double figures.
  • Charles Buggs does something amazing followed by something head scratching on consecutive possessions.