|Pos.||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||Illinois Fighting Illini||Pos.|
|PG||Nate Mason||13.8||3.7||Khalid Lewis||PG|
|G||Dupree McBrayer||5.9||16.0||Kendrick Nunn||G|
|F||Charles Buggs||5.4||10.0||Jalen Coleman-Lands||G|
|F||Jordan Murphy||11.4||18.1||Malcolm Hill||F|
|C||Bakary Konate||4.6||7.3||Maverick Morgan||F|
|Bench||Joey King||11.6||2.0||Jaylon Tate||Bench|
|Bench||Kevin Dorsey||6.8||2.2||DJ Williams||Bench|
|Bench||Ahmad Gilbert||2.6||8.1||Michael Finke||Bench|
Well the Illini had a halftime lead over Indiana the other day and then were thoroughly destroyed 47-19 in the second half. Are they a defeated club or going to be embarrassed and come out fighting today at home, facing one of the two teams behind them in the Big Ten standings?
Keys to a Gopher Win (now I have to actually take these more seriously)
The Oscar Goes To - This game goes up against the Oscars and the win tonight will go to the team that best impersonates a Big Ten basketball team. Neither has been very good this year with some bad loses, a few close games and very few wins. Rebounding, some defense and executing when it matters. Neither team shoots very well, so both need to figure out a way to score some points.
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." He's our best shot at winning, in my opinion.
I'm More Worried About Malcolm Hill Than Kendrick Nunn - Both are pretty good and this is exactly what I said prior to the first meeting between these two teams. Hill went off for 28 and hit 13/14 from the free throw line.
Poor execution down the stretch really hurt the Gopher's chances in the first meeting. It went to OT where Illinois comfortably won by 5. Can the Gophers get their first road win in conference since winning at Michigan State just over 1 year ago? This is a pretty fair opportunity. We've been playing much better lately, hopefully they keep it up to get a 3-game win streak headed into the Wisconsin game.
Prediction: Gophers by 4.