|Minnesota Golden Gophers
|Derrick Walton Jr
Big Ten Tournament semi-finals action! The biggest change from the last time these two teams met is that Akeem Springs is out and done with this Gopher career. That puts the Gophers as basically 6 deep and will have rely on more minutes from Hurt and maybe even Ahmed Gilbert. Hopefully those two come in with some confidence and knock down a few shots to make up for the loss of Springs on the offensive end. McBrayer's minutes will go up as well which is ok considering how well he's been playing.
You probably never heard but Michigan had some trouble getting to DC for the Tournament earlier this week and they didn't have their uniforms for their opening game. They've played well in both of their BTT games, beating top seed Purdue in OT yesterday. They really are hot right now, but hopefully fatigue sets in here today and the Gophers, who are also playing well, can take care of the Wolverines to earn a spot in the Big Ten Championship game.
Keys to a Gopher Win
Operate an Efficient Offense - When Michigan plays efficient defense they are really tough to beat cause their offense is always efficient. Offensively they haven't been below 100 in off efficiency since they played Texas on December 6th. So the Gophers need to execute an offense today and make sure they are scoring. For us, that typically means points in the paint. Either Lynch/Murphy scoring or our guards penetrating and scoring or getting fouled.
Foul Trouble - In the first game against Michigan foul trouble was key on both sides. Reggie Lynch dominated early but foul trouble kept him to just 13 minutes. For Michigan Wagner was a force at times but he fouled out and that made a pretty big difference in overtime. Minnesota also got to the line 41 times in that game which is a lot. Mostly I'm concerned about keeping Lynch on the floor, he had 11 points and 8 boards in just 13 minutes last time. Imagine what he does with 25 minutes on the floor?
Replace the Production of Springs - The Gophers have been very fortunate all year in the injuries department. Now they have to play their first game with Springs. He has been crucial this year with this defense, leadership and being able to stretch the floor with his shooting. This is really the first game all year without that core group of 7 guys being available. How they react and adjust is going to be key.
I enjoy watching Michigan and their offensive efficiency, but I'm thinking today they are a bit flat. At some point the adrenaline has to wear off and their third game in 3 days will hopefully see them with tired legs. Gophers are inspired to win for Springs and they advance. #Believer