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Minnesota Basketball-Previewing Temple

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Minnesota begins the Puerto Rico Tip Off at 10:30am today

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota faces off against Temple in the Puerto Rico Tip Off at 10:30am today. The best team in the rest of the field is Utah, who the Gophers could play in the third round if Minnesota wins its first two games. Minnesota is 2-0 on the season, with wins over the University of Missouri Kansas City and Louisiana Monroe. Temple was blown out in their only game of the season against North Carolina.

Statistically speaking, Minnesota played above average in their first two games. The Gophers 2-point defense is currently 6th in the country according to KenPom. Small samples are small, and Temple should present a much more difficult test.

Provide me the Essentials to View this Game

Who are the Gophers playing? Temple Owls

Where are they playing? Puerto Rico

When are they playing? 10:30am CST

Can I watch it on television? You can. ESPNU and WatchESPN

What about the wonder of sound? This game is on the radio 1500ESPN.

Tell me more about the Opponent

As mentioned, Temple is 0-1 on the season. The Owls lost Will Cummings, but do return a fair amount of talent from last year. Jaylen Bond-the AAC's leading rebounder last year-is back and will be a difficult matchup for a Minnesota team bereft of rebounding talent. Fran Dunphy's teams play tough defense and avoid mistakes. Apart from that, the North Carolina game made it difficult to get a strong read on the team this year.

A note on Temple's depth: Obi Enechionyia is day to day with an ankle injury, but did practice with the team on a limited basis before heading to Puerto Rico.

Keys to the Game

The Puerto Rico Tip Off is one of few chances in the non conference to rack up some solid RPI wins. For Minnesota to beat Temple, they must play smart and be aggressive on both sides of the ball.

  1. Be Competitive on the boards: Minnesota lost the rebounding battle against two bad mid-major teams to start the season. Through a single game, Temple is not very good, but that single game is doing a lot of work. Minnesota must be able to stay with Temple on the boards, and keep them off the offensive glass.
  2. Make threes. The Gophers take a lot of threes, but have been, shall we say, inconsistent at them. Against UMKC, Minnesota shot 43% from the field. Against Lousiana Monroe? 14%. If Minnesota has another performance like the latter, they will struggle to beat Temple.
  3. Force Temple into mistakes. Temple tends to avoid making unforced errors. Minnesota tends to struggle against those kinds of teams if the Gophers are unable to get them out of rhythm. The same will be true this morning.

Predictions

  • Minnesota in a squeaker 65-62. KenPom has a 58% chance of Minnesota winning with an expected score of 73-71.
  • Joey King continues to hit threes at a high clip.
  • Almost everyone watching this game will be doing so stealthily at work