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Minnesota Basketball: Previewing Drake

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Gophers look to get back on track in return to The Barn

Northern Iowa v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Back to regularly scheduled non-conference programming. The Gophers return home after two brutal games on the road to take on the Drake Bulldogs of the Missouri Valley. The Bulldogs have had a rough go of it so far this season, with losses to Nebraska-Omaha and South Dakota.

Essentials:

Who are the Gophers playing?

Drake Bulldogs (5-4, 0-0)

What time are they playing?

Monday, Dec. 11 @ 7 p.m. CT

Where are they playing?

Williams Arena

Can I watch the game on TV?

Yes, BTN.

Can I listen to the game on the radio?

Yes, 1130-AM | 103.5

Tell me more about the opponent.

Drake hasn’t been very good for quite a while. Remember that one year they snuck into the Top 25 and were a 5-seed in the tournament? That was in 2008, which means we’re going on 10 years since the Bulldogs have been relevant.

To turn things around, they’ve brought in former Minnesota standout Niko Medved to helm the team. It’s expected to be slow going in the beginning for Medved, even though they’re bringing back four of the five starters from last year.

So far this season the Bulldogs have been pretty bad at defense, ranking near the bottom nationally in opponent’s effective FG%, turnover percentage and defensive efficiency. In short, teams are scoring very effectively against Drake.

The offense begins and ends with Reed Timmer, a senior guard averaging 22 points per game. TImmer can score in droves and already has five games with 27 or more points this year. Oh, and he’s shooting an incredible 56% from deep this year, which makes him one of the more dangerous three-point threats in the nation.

Beyond Timmer, the Bulldogs have three players averaging 11 or more points., but beyond that their depth is an issue.

Keys to the Game

Slow down Reed Timmer

The Bulldogs have been inconsistent on offense and don’t have a whole lot of weapons beyond Timmer they can rely on. He’ll score his points, but if the Gophers can minimize the damage he does from beyond the three-point line they should win this one going away.

However, a hot Timmer could really muck things up for the Gophers, as he’s the type of player that has given them fits already this season.

Predictions

KenPom likes the Gophers in this one, predicting an 18-point win, 88-70. I think the Gophers are looking for a revenge game and will win this by more than 20.