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Border Battle with Wisconsin -- OPEN THREAD

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Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports


WHERE

THE BARN

WHEN

3:30 PM

HOW

BTN

Pos. Minnesota Golden Gophers Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Wisconsin Badgers Pos.
PG Nate Mason 13.9 14.5 Bronson Koenig PG
G Akeem Springs 8.4 8.1 Zak Showalter G
F Amir Coffey 11.9 12.8 Ethan Happ G
F Jordan Murphy 10.2 7.9 Vitto Brown F
C Reggie Lynch 8.6 13.6 Nigel Hayes F
Bench Eric Curry 5.9 4.6 Khalil Iverson Bench
Bench Dupree McBrayer 11.7 6.2 D'Mitrick Trice Bench
Bench Bakary Konate 2.3 1.6 Alex Illikainen Bench

Wisconsin is good again. Fresh off a Sweet Sixteen appearance in last year's NCAA Tournament, the Badgers returned all five starters and expected another big season. So far that's holding true, and they're looking like the team to beat once again in the Big Ten.

Keys to a Gopher Win

Maroon_key_mediumShoot the ball better - This is obvious, but if the Gophers can't get by a team like Penn State when they have shooting woes then what chance do they have against a more dangerous Badgers team? You can slice the numbers any way you want, but at the end of the day Minnesota just needs to get the ball in the bucket. Period. 55 points isn't going to win this game. Nate Mason has been in a funk for four games now, and as one of the team's offensive leaders, the turnaround has got to start with him.

Maroon_key_mediumMinimize Nigel Hayes - Wisconsin hasn't lost much this year, but when they've been susceptible it's because Hayes has been minimized. He does a great job at getting to the line, which is dangerous for a team like the Gophers, who have been prone to foul trouble. He's gone away from the three-pointer as the season has worn on, and has done his damage closer to the basket, so if Reggie Lynch and Jordan Murphy can keep things in check down low, Minnesota could throw a wrench into Hayes' plans. Koenig will do his thing, but Hayes has gotta be stopped.

Prediction

KenPom has this as a narrow victory for the Badgers 65-63. Honestly, I'm not behind the Gophers in this one and don't like what they've been delivering on offense. They're going to need a significant offensive turnaround if they want to upset the Badgers. Wisconsin by 6.