If I'm not mistaken, this is the first game between Minnesota and Maryland in any sport since Maryland joined the Big Ten. The Gophers travel to College Park to play the Terrapins in a tough match-up.
Opponent: Maryland Terrapins
Where: Xfinity Center
When: 11am CST
Listen: 1500 ESPN
1. Stop Maryland's Back Court
The Terms have an excellent back court. Dez Wells has returned from an injury and is already integrated back into the lineup. Melo Trimble is an excellent guard and will likely be the best freshmen on the court today. Minnesota must prevent Maryland's guards from creating to have a chance to win. The Gophers still lead the nation in steals, and turnovers are going to be their best bet for easy points. It's not merely on defense that Minnesota needs a good game; the Gophers need their guards to make shots to open up space for Mo Walker and Elliott Eliason. If the Gophers are cold from deep, expect this to be a long one.
Minnesota is not a big team, but it's defensive rebounding performances have been particularly poor of late. The Gophers can ill afford to give bad teams extra possessions, to say nothing of good ones. Additionally, Minnesota starts much of its transition game from quick outlets off rebounds. Walker, Eliason, and King need big games on the glass.
3. Free Throw Shooting
Minnesota lost to Purdue in part because of lost free throw shooting. The Gophers have been poor all season from the line. What's rather baffling is that Minnesota is a decent shooting team.The quality of free throws aside, Minnesota simply need to get more. Shooting free throws requires getting to the line, and against good competition Minnesota has not been successful at drawing fouls. Getting to line more also means more fouls on Maryland (obvious statement is obvious) and getting the Terps in foul trouble (especially their bigs) would really help the Gophers pull the road upset.
- Gophers lose 72-68
- Minnesota's press relaxes by the second half
- Charles Buggs does something amazing and head scratching on consecutive possessions
- Nate Mason has more points than Melo Trimble