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Minnesota Basketball-Previewing Milwaukee

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Minnesota goes for its second non conference win in a row.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

After the finals break, Minnesota welcomes Milwaukee to the Barn. The Gophers are over .500 again on the season at 6-5. It is unfortunately unclear whether this game is considered a Christmas present or not. That is unless you are leaving Milwaukee to go to this game, in which case definitely yes.

Provide Me the Essentials to View this Game

Who are the Gophers Playing

Milwaukee Panthers

What time are they playing

7pm CST

Where are they playing

Williams Arena

Can I watch the game on TV

Unclear why you would, but in any event you can't. The game is on ESPN3.

Can I listen to the game on the radio

Yes. 1500ESPN.

Tell me more about the Opponent

Now that the Gophers have fallen outside the top 100 teams in the nation according to KenPom, this game is a legitimate contest. Milwaukee is just five spots back. Even with the early season sample sizes, that's a problem for the Gophers.

The Panthers average 1.04 points per possession and give up 1.01 points per possession. Milwaukee is an excellent free throw shooting team, ranked 14th in the country entering the game. They are also in the top third of the nation in two point and three point shooting. On the defensive end, they rebound well. Based on their atrocious offensive rebounding statistics, it is likely that the Panthers are coached to get back on defense instead of crash the boards.

One other note about the statistical profile. Milwaukee is terrible at steals and blocks. This could mean one of two philosophies. Either the Panthers take no chances whatsoever on defense and use solid fundamentals to defend, or the Panthers have poor hand eye coordination on the defensive side of the ball. Let's hope for the latter.

Keys to the Game

  1. Execute a coherent offense. On an individual talent level the Gophers are better than the Panthers. Further Milwaukee has not played anyone challenging this year. (Yes, that is a shot directed at a team to the East). Nonetheless, Minnesota will have to work for baskets. For stretches of the Chicago State game, the Gophers played unselfishly and trusted the offense. Milwaukee is much better, and the Gophers will have to do that for forty minutes.  
  2. Move the ball. I'm going to self plagiarize and reiterate what I said last game. There's an old basketball drill to teach ball movement that demands that a player never hold on to the ball for more than a second. They either have to pass, shoot, or attack the basket. If they hold it for too long, the player is subbed out. Minnesota has multiple players who unnecessarily hold the ball to the detriment of the offense. Tonight, those players should see the bench if they do so. In particular, selfish shots will lead to wasted possessions against an opponent who will make Minnesota pay.

Predictions

  • Minnesota by 10 70-60.
  • Jordan Murphy has another double double.
  • Based on two, a local columnist comes up with a horrible nickname for Murphy. Minnesota tries to win its second non conference game in a row.