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Minnesota Basketball-Previewing Ohio State

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Minnesota begins conference play against the Buckeyes.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota plays Ohio State this evening. The Gophers finished non-conference play with a disappointing 6-6 record. Ohio State enters the game 8-5 on the season.

Provide Me the Essentials to View this Game

Who are the Gophers Playing

an Ohio State University

What time are they playing

6pm CST (not 7pm which happens when you google on the East Coast...)

Where are they playing

Value City Arena

Can I watch the game on TV

Yes. BTN

Can I listen to the game on the radio

Yes. 1500ESPN.

Tell me more about the Opponent

Ohio State has an a confusing non-conference. After starting 2-4, the Buckeyes finished the conference 8-5 and are currently on a 4 game winning streak including a win over Kentucky. For the non-conference, Ohio State maintained an excellent defense and a decent offense. The Buckeyes give up less than a point per possession and average a bit over 1.05 points per possession on offense. They shoot the ball well from inside but are a weak three point shooting team. Offensively, the Buckeyes have been turnover prone, which is a potential ray of hope for Minnesota.

Defensively, Ohio State is excellent. They have the 19th best Defensive effective Field Goal percentage in the country, and are particularly stingy on the interior. Absent transition baskets, I am concerned about how the Gophers are going to score the ball.

Ohio State is led by Marc Loving, but the junior has been slumping of late. Expect that to end tonight. Loving is one of three Buckeyes who score in double figures, with another (JaQuan Lyle) just under 10 points. Keita Bates-Diop has had an excellent year, and will present a matchup problem for Minnesota.

Keys to the Game

  1. Force turnovers. Ohio State is a much better team than they were earlier in the season, but they are still turnover prone. The easiest shot attempt is an unguarded layup, which the Gophers only ever seem to get in transition. Minnesota seems to have abandoned the press as a weapon, but the team needs to be active in passing lanes to force the Buckeyes into mistakes.
  2. Move the ball. Ohio State is a very good defensive team. The Gophers were scoreless for multiple stretches against Chicago State. Minnesota must make the Buckeyes move on defense to have any chance to open up driving lanes.
  3. Get lucky. Upsets require the underdog to get lucky. Whether that means Ohio State is unable to make baskets, or the Gophers suddenly get hot from deep does not matter. The Gophers need to win every 50-50 ball, get every 50-50 call, and make plays that we have not seen from them this year. 

Predictions

  • Minnesota loses by 15. 75-60.
  • Nate Mason make 4 threes.
  • We all make comments about shrinking the length of the conference season.