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Round 1 of NIT Gophers Host High Point Panthers - OPEN THREAD

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports


Williams Arena


7:15 PM



The Gophers missed the NCAA Tournament and now get to make a run in the NIT. First up are the High Point Panthers in their quest to get to Manhattan.

Pos. Minnesota Golden Gophers Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Wisconsin Badgers Pos.
PG Deandre Mathieu 12.1 3.8 Jorge Perez-Laham (FR) PG
G Andre Hollins 14.2 4.4 Anthony Lindauer (FR) G
G Austin Hollins 11.6 12.4 Devante Wallace (JR) F
F Joey King
6.4 7.8 Lorenzo Cugini (SO) F
F Elliott Eliason 5.3 19.5 John Brown (SO) F
Bench Malik Smith 7.9 11.9 Adam Weary (SO) Bench
Bench Daquein McNeil
1.4 3.4 Derrell Edwards (SR) Bench
Bench Maurice Walker 7.7 3.0 Haiishen McIntyre (SO) Bench

A little about High Point. They were the regular season champs in the Big South Conference but were upset by Winthrop in the semis of their conference tourney (Video of game-losing three can be found here). Eventually it was Coastal Carolina, a previous Gopher victim this season, who went on to win the conference's automatic bid. The Panthers were 12-4 in the Big South, 4-10 against the rest of their schedule.

What stands out about this team is just how young they are. Two freshmen and four sophomores are among the team's top eight minute eaters. And just one senior in that group. This team lost one of their best players, Allan Chaney a transfer from Virginia Tech and Florida, in December when he decided to end his career early due to a heart condition.

High Point is coached by Scott Cherry. He is former player for Dean Smith at North Carolina, a young coach who is a Villa 7 alumn and is in his fifth season as the head coach at High Point.

Efficiency Stats

Minnesota High Point
Off PPP 1.114 1.048
Def PPP 1.005 1.116 (305)
Off TO% 18.2%
Def TO% 18.2%
Off Reb % 32.2%
Def Reb % 69.4%
66.6% (267)

The numbers do not seem to be in High Point's favor here. Their big red flags are their defense (305th nationally in points per possession allowed) and their defensive rebounding. And I didn't post their defensive effective FG% which ranks 321st nationally.

The Gophers should be able to score tonight and I would like to believe that we are good enough defensively that we can at least slow High Point down at little.

KenPom says we have a 93% chance of winning with a 12-point margin. I just don't see us losing this one and I think it will be by 14+.

Keys to a Gopher Win


Don't Be Careless - We are the better team and High Point doesn't tend to force a lot of turnovers. But we cannot be careless with the ball, take terrible shots and generally assume that we can play unfocused basketball and still win. Don't be careless with the basketball and give the ball away due to unforced errors.


Rebound Like Crazy - High Point does not defensive rebound very well and I'd like to see that get exposed tonight. Hit the offensive glass and break their backs with extra opportunities to score. At times we have been OK at offensive rebounding, tonight I hope we exploit this Panther weakness.

The outcome of NIT games is often determined by which team is most interested in actually playing in the NIT. If you can get over the let-down of not making the NCAA Tournament and have a team that wants to continue their season (unlike when Gophers beat Miami 2 years ago), then you generally can win a few games. The Gophers sort of get a game to ease into the NIT Tournament and hopefully they'll be motivated to make a run to Manahattan.