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Big Ten Tournament First Round: Minnesota Basketball vs. Illinois - OPEN THREAD

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A win would delay Minnesota collecting the most losses in school history.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Where

Indianapolis, IN

When

3:30 PM

How

ESPN2

Pos. Minnesota Golden Gophers Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Illinois Fighting Illini Pos.
PG Nate Mason Stephon Sharp 3.7 3.9 Khalid Lewis PG
G Dupree McBrayer Ahmad Gilbert 3.0 15.6 Kendrick Nunn G
F Charles Buggs 5.7 10.3 Jalen Coleman-Lands G
F Jordan Murphy 11.7 18.6 Malcolm Hill F
C Bakary Konate 4.7 7.8 Maverick Morgan F
Bench Joey King Gaston Diedhiou 0.7 1.9 Jaylon Tate Bench
Bench Kevin Dorsey Darin Haugh 0.0 2.3 D.J. Williams Bench
Bench Mike Lukashewich 0.7 7.3 Michael Finke Bench

These teams just faced each other about a week ago and it was the first game without the three suspended guards. Even with Joey King in the lineup the Gophers lost by 13. It is just depressing to type the names into the chart above.

Keys to a Gopher Win (now I have to actually take these more seriously)

Maroon_key_medium Two Halves Please - Gophers played well in the first half against Illinois, then stunk up the second half. They were about as bad as I have ever seen them in the first half against Rutgers and then played adequately in the second. Honestly if they play solid for two halves, they could even have a chance to win this.

Maroon_key_medium Jordan Murphy Time - Illinois, like us, is not that strong in the paint. Murphy has averaged 17 and 10 against Illinois in the two regular season meetings. Just like every other game he needs to stay out of foul trouble and just be productive. I think that he was really pressing in the Rutgers game and trying to do it all while his team was missing virtually everyone. Stay calm, stay out of foul trouble, play within yourself and dominate!

Maroon_key_medium Shoot The Ball / Make the Basket - Not breaking any news here that this is a bad shooting team. But sometimes we are really bad (like 15% in the first half against Rutgers bad). At this level, even bad shooting teams make some baskets once in a while, how about we shoot 25% instead of 12% from three. Just a little bit of extra points from the outside would make a pretty substantial difference.

Prediction: Gophers by 4.