|Minnesota Golden Gophers
|Illinois Fighting Illini
|Mike Thorne Jr.
Is this a chance for a win? MAYBE! Illinois is also not very good
Keys to a Gopher Win (yes, I realize the futile-ness of this exercise)
Make Baskets - Illinois is really (I mean REALLY) bad at defending the three. Maybe (just maybe) we execute a little offense and get some open threes. If we make them, we stand a chance here. We are not good in the paint, we are not very good shooters so we have had to do a lot of penetration to the lane lately...tonight we need to make some threes. The Illini won't generally send us to the line a lot, expect kick outs for three.
Jordan Murphy Time - Illinois, like us, is not that strong in the paint. This might be a great opportunity for Murphy to dominate the paint. Get him the ball in the post, maybe we get lucky and get Malcolm Hill in foul trouble. At the very least he stands a chance of scoring inside and opening things up for our shooters (see point 1 above).
I'm More Worried About Malcolm Hill Than Kendrick Nunn - Both are dangerous, both can light up the scoreboard and if they both are scoring a lot we are doomed. But Hill is more likely to go for 30, Nunn
KenPom says this is essentially a coin flip with Illinois having a 51% chance of winning. I like this matchup and this is a chance to get off the goose-egg. Will we do it? We will need to make some shots. I fear Hill/Nunn combine for 50 and we fall to 0-whatever. But if we play focused, effort on D and make some shots we can do this.