Minnesota takes on Indiana today at Williams Arena. The Gophers are 6-11 on the season and winless in conference. By contrast the Hoosiers are 14-3 and winners of their last nine.
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Since we're far enough into conference, all statistics from here on out are going to be conference only.
Indiana boasts the seventh best offense in the conference, which is initially surprising because the Hoosiers can make shots with the best of them, averaging an eFG% of 57.5. The Hoosiers average a little over 1.08 points per possession. They are the third best three point shooting team in the conference and the best two point shooting team. Given Minnesota's struggles against Nebraska and Northwestern, that bodes poorly.
What Indiana does not do is hold on to the ball. The Hoosiers turn the ball over on almost one out every four possessions. That is nationally terrible. They also do not get to the line particularly often given their success in making shots.
On defense, Indiana has the top scoring defense in the conference. They only give up .93 points per possession, are long at all positions, and are good at forcing turnovers. Against the desiccated carcass that is Minnesota's offense, the Hoosiers should have a field day.
Indiana is again led by Yogi Ferrell who has somehow not graduated yet. He and Thomas Bryant have led the Hoosiers since James Blackmon's injury earlier this month. Robert Johnson is hitting over 50% of his threes, so expect him to have a field day against the porous Minnesota defense.
Keys to the Game
- Play without Fear. Richard Pitino discussed bringing in a sports psychologist to talk to the team about regaining confidence. No one expected the season to be this bad. On the bright side, a team cannot get any worse than zero wins in conference. Minnesota needs to come out loose and ready to play against Indiana. Otherwise, this will be a blow out in a hurry.
- Avoid unforced errors. As mentioned, Indiana turns the ball over a lot. Minnesota can capitalize on those turnovers. In theory, that should be the Gophers strong suit. In practice, Minnesota will have to avoid giving the ball right back due to an empty possession.
- Rotate. Northwestern and Nebraska both had field days slashing through Minnesota's zone defense. Indiana is far better than both of those teams on offense. In the previous games, at least one player appears to be out of position every possession. If this game is even going to be close, the Gophers will have to summon their best defensive effort of the season.
- Minnesota loses by 20. Final score 80-60
- The Gophers have an effective FG% under 50%.
- The Barn is a quarter full.