|Pos.||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||Northwestern Wildcats||Pos.|
|PG||Nate Mason||14.5||10.7||Kam Williams||PG|
|G||Dupree McBrayer||12.3||11.6||JaQuan Lyle||G|
|F||Amir Coffey||12.3||14.1||Jae'Sean Tate||G|
|F||Jordan Murphy||10.8||11.7||Marc Loving||F|
|C||Reggie Lynch||8.5||10.4||Trevor Thompson||F|
|Bench||Eric Curry||6.3||3.7||C.J. Jackson||Bench|
|Bench||Akeem Springs||8.6||4.4||Micah Potter||Bench|
|Bench||Michael Hurt||1.3||1.8||Andre Wesson||Bench|
Ohio State typically only goes 6 or 7 guys deep and this year is no different. They rely heavily on their 5 starters and this years team is very balanced among those 5 starters. Kam Williams and his 41% from three (while also leading his team in attempts) is the one that worries me most, but all five starters are capable of having a really big game.
Efficiency Stats (national rank in parenthesis if significant)
|Minnesota (33)||Ohio St (48)|
|Def PPP||0.922 (13)||0.956|
|Off Reb %||29.3%||29.4%|
|Def Reb %||71.2%||72.7%|
Keys to a Gopher Win
Get to Free Throw Line - The Gophers really didn't get to the line much in the Northwestern game until the end when the Wildcats were intentionally fouling to gain more possessions. Ohio State is statistically very good at not putting opponents on the line, today the Gophers need to get to the rim and either score or get free throws. It really is a key component of our offense.
Rebound - Offensive rebounding kept NU in the game a few days ago. Ohio State is very athletic. Their win over UConn and their close loss at Virginia both saw them getting a high percentage of offensive rebounds. In their back-to-back Big Ten losses, they were held off the offensive glass. Gophers need to get bodies on these athletic Buckeyes and keep them from getting extra possessions on offense.
My theory is that we struggle against teams that are built on execution on both ends of the floor (see Michigan State and Northwestern). We match up well with teams that are less structured and rely on athleticism (see St. Johns and Arkansas). I think we'll do just fine against Ohio State and move to 3-1 in the Big Ten.
Additional prediction? Amir Coffey has an ELITE game.