Minnesota plays Nebraska tonight in Lincoln. The Gophers are 6-10 on the year and 0-4 in conference. Nebraska is 9-8 on the season. If you are not excited by that, just wait. Nebraska writers are consistent that the Cornhuskers have under-performed all season.
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Who are the Gophers playing?
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Where are they playing?
Pinnacle Bank Arena
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Tell me more about the opponent
Nebraska enters this game 1-3 in conference play, with the lone win at Rutgers. They have one win over a current KenPom top 100 team. The Cornhuskers still play Tim Miles basketball, which means this game will likely be a slogfest.
Nebraska averages a bit over a point per possession on the season and closer to 1.14 points per possession in conference. They shoot the ball well and do not turn over the ball. The Cornhuskers are not a tremendous threat to drive and get fouled, and are 13th in the conference in FTA/FGA.
Andrew White and Shavon Shields lead Nebraska's attack. White is the Cornhuskers' leading scorer and an excellent shooter. Shields somehow has not graduated and continues to be a high usage player who mostly shoots two point baskets.
On defense, Nebraska is a trainwreck in Big Ten play. The Cornhuskers have given up almost 1.13 points per possession. They foul a lot, fail to get turnovers, and allow their opponents a high effective Field Goal percentage. Some of this is due to the quality of the opponents, but Nebraska was not a fearsome defense in the non conference against good teams either.
Keys to the Game
- Defend the 3. Asked about Minnesota's odd choice to play a zone defense against a bunch of shooters, Pitino voiced that the Gophers are not particularly good at man defense either. While it's unlikely that the intervening practices will have changed, the Gophers must make Nebraska work for shots inside and contain White's shooting ability.
- Avoid unforced errors. Nebraska will not force turnovers out of its base defense. Minnesota needs to be smart with the ball to keep pace on possessions. Against Northwestern, the Gophers turned the ball over on 17% of their possessions. That number needs to be drastically reduced. In particular, Jordan Murphy needs to be smarter with the ball.
- Attack the Basket. Nebraska does not have a great defense, and Minnesota can have success in this game driving to the basket. This is contingent on some wrinkles in the offense that free up driving lanes.
- Minnesota loses by 5. Final Score Prediction: 72-67.
- The Gophers have an effective FG% under 50%.
- Jordan Murphy remains stranded on the wing.