|Pos.||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||#16 Michigan Wolverines||Pos.|
|PG||Deandre Mathieu||11.9||8.3||Derrick Walton Jr.||PG|
|G||Andre Hollins||14.8||13.4||Caris LeVert||G|
|G||Austin Hollins||11.4||16.9||Nik Stauskas||F|
|F||Joey King||6.4||13.0||Glenn Robinson III||F|
|F||Maurice Walker||7.4||5.2||Jordan Morgan||F|
|Bench||Malik Smith||9.0||4.6||Jon Horford||Bench|
|Bench||Elliott Eliason||5.7||3.3||Spike Albrecht||Bench|
|Bench||Daquein McNeil||1.6||7.3||Zak Irvin||Bench|
I didn't list the man that everybody is probably most anxious to see and that is Charles Buggs. Will he come out firing? Will he create matchup issues for Michigan? Will he be a spark off the bench again as the Gophers try to get a road win over a ranked team.
Efficiency Stats (national rank in parenthesis if significant)
|Off PPP||1.135 (32)||1.219 (3)|
|Off TO%||18.5%||14.7% (11)|
|Off Reb %||33.7%||29.7%|
|Def Reb %||69.1%||71.1%|
Michigan is a very good shooting team (9th nationally in eFG%) that is rather efficient on offense (3rd Off ppp) and they don't give you extra possessions (11th in off TO%). And to make things worse, they are very good at not fouling opponents. Add it all up and they are very difficult to beat. Opponents tend not to get more shots off than they do, they tend not to shoot better and they tend not to gain extra points with additional free throws There are different ways to win a basketball game, this is how they do it.
The Gophers shot an eFG% that this program hasn't seen since at least 2002 (probably longer but stats don't go back any further). Don't expect that to happen for a second consecutive game. They will need to grind out possessions, not turn the ball over and defend Michigan's shooters well. A tall order when on the road against the Big Ten's #1 team.
Keys to a Gopher Win
Sustain Improved Play From Senior Guards - Austin Hollins and to a lesser degree Malik Smith broke out of their slumps in the win over Iowa. Austin's 27 points on 8/10 shooting was a career high and it took his previous 4+ games to eclipse those 27 points. Malik didn't light up the scoreboard but he did hit his first three since before Valentine's Day, played better defense and hit some key free throws down the stretch to help ice the game. We cannot afford for these two to go back into their funk. If they play well, particularly shooting, then we have a shot tonight.
Limit Michigan's Open Threes - This is a good shooting team who does a very nice job executing their offense to give their shooters open looks at three. We need to be disciplined defensively, we need to help quicker and most importantly we need to recover much quicker (this is kind of an issue for us and might be the subject of a future Breakdown post). Help quick, recover quicker. This will be important as Michigan uses movement and screens to free up shooters. If they get a series of open looks, they will knock them down and we will be in trouble.
I'm looking forward to a good game, we tend to play up to the competition (at least for a half, sometimes two). This would be a fun one to steal and a huge road win. Today should tell us a little bit about this team in the wake of the offensive explosion earlier this week. I'm not expecting another 90+ points, but playing with confidence and renewed toughness would be great.