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Gophers Beat Penn State to Advance to Second Round of the Big Ten Tournament

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Andy Lyons

Minnesota defeated Penn State 63-56 in Indianapolis to advance to the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Gophers jumped out to an early lead and held on despite multiple offensive lulls. Penn State made a late rally to cut the game to two possessions. At that point Dre Hollins once again remembered that he's a great scorer and hit a 3 pointer to ice the game. The Four Factors are below.

Team ORtg eFG% OR% TO%
Minnesota 106.4 51.0 21.2 15.2
Penn State 94.0 36.4 36.6 16.8

Minnesota won three of the Four Factors. The Gophers' biggest problem was allowing Penn State to get so many offensive rebounds. To illustrate the following is an actual sequence from the play by play:

15:46 Ross Travis Defensive Rebound. 3-9
15:37 D.J. Newbill missed Three Point Jumper. 3-9
15:37 Tim Frazier Offensive Rebound. 3-9
15:28 John Johnson missed Three Point Jumper. 3-9
15:28 Ross Travis Offensive Rebound. 3-9
15:05 Donovon Jack missed Three Point Jumper. 3-9
15:05 Tim Frazier Offensive Rebound. 3-9
14:43 Donovon Jack missed Three Point Jumper. 3-9
14:43 3-9 Minnesota Defensive Rebound.

A couple of points here. First, yes Penn State did in fact have three offensive rebounds on one possession. Second, yes Penn State could not convert four scoring opportunities into points. Penn State's eFG% was awful, and much of that was the result of the Nittany Lions missing open shots. It is almost inconceivable that Wisconsin will play similarly. The Gophers must do a better job boxing out and communicating on missed shots.

Another problem that needs to be corrected tomorrow is missed free throws. The Gophers are simply not talented enough to give away points at the line. Minnesota went 14-23 from the line and missed several front ends on 1 and 1 opportunities.

On the bright side, the Gophers also did a decent job keeping turnovers down. Deandre Mathieu had an almost 3:1 assist to turnover ratio. Lil Dre continues to grow into the PG role. He finished the game with 13 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. As importantly, he stayed out of foul trouble and was able to play 38 minutes tonight.

The post game press conference is embedded below. A special thanks to Travis from Hammer and Rails for the audio.

Other Notes:

Austin Hollins led Minnesota again. He played 37 minutes and finished with 18 points (4-7 from 3pt range), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block.

Pat Chambers really came out of the gate hard when it came to temper tantrums. I'm sure he was displeased at his low seeding in the BTTT. Remember if you haven't voted, you should go do so immediately.

Minnesota takes on Wisconsin tomorrow. As always, Better Dead than Red.