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Minnesota Basketball-Previewing Clemson

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The Men's basketball team takes on Clemson.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Men's Basketball team takes on Clemson tonight at Williams Arena. The Gophers are 4-2 on the season after beating Nebraska-Omaha. Clemson is 4-1 on the season.

Provide me the Essentials to View this Game

Who are the Gophers playing? Clemson Tigers

Where are they playing? Williams Arena

When are they playing? 8pm CST

Can I watch it on television? You can. ESPN2 and WatchESPN

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

Tell me more about the Opponent

As mentioned, Clemson is 4-1 on the season. The Tigers have yet to beat a team ranked in KenPom's top 200, so that record should give us pause. Clemson is led by Jaron Blossomgame, who should be a candidate for all-Name team. Blossomgame has an excellent inside game, and will be a tough challenge for Minnesota's undersized front-line.

Like the Gophers, the Tigers have a tendency to fall in love with the three despite not being a good three point shooting team. In their only loss to Massachusetts, Clemson attempted 27 three point shots and made six. Minnesota's three point defense is soft, but the Gophers may be let off the hook tonight.

Clemson is a low-turnover team and does not foul, meaning the Gophers will have to execute in the half-court to find good shots. Based on the beginning of the season, this may be a challenge.

Keys to the Game

  1. Take Good Shots: Joey King noted that the Gophers will have to win ugly for most of the season. Winning at all requires good shot attempts. Minnesota will not beat Clemson by throwing up the first shot available. The Tigers will make the Gophers work for shots, and Minnesota needs to trust its offense.
  2. Make threes. Minnesota's offense is built on getting to the rim and taking threes. Clemson so far has been a stingy defensive team. If Minnesota cannot make three point shots, Clemson will have no reason to extend on defense. Conversely, a good three point shooting night will open up driving lanes for the Gophers.
  3. Turn Clemson Over. Clemson is a deliberate team, and the Gophers will have to find a way to get additional possessions. The best way will be to force Clemson to make mistakes and turn the ball over. Transition offense has always been easier than half court offense. Turnovers will also put Clemson off their game.

Predictions

  • Minnesota in a pick'em 66-63. KenPom sees this as a 55% chance of a Minnesota win with an expected score of 67-66.
  • The Gophers go deep into the bench due to foul trouble.
  • An announcer makes a horrible pun on Blossomgame.