No more non-conference foes for the Gophers, it is all Big Ten opponents from here on out. The Gophers dropped an ugly one at Nebraska earlier in December and need to rebound in early January with a few early Big Ten wins before they get into the teeth of the schedule.
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
- Get to Shooters - Particularly I’d like to make sure that we are aware of and close out Michael Finke and Aaron Jordan. Don’t let those to hit open threes. As a team Illinois doesn’t shoot from the outside particularly well, but these two guys do.
- Get in Offensive Rhythm - I’m a little concerned about how the offense will look with Dupree McBrayer and likely Nate Mason coming back after missing some time recently. The offense needs to be in sync.
- Take Care of the Ball - Illinois is #8 nationally in turnovers forced! That’s a healthy 24.7% of possessions where they force a turnover. Hopefully Mason is playing and when he’s resting let us hope that Isaiah Washington takes care of the ball.
I will predict the Gophers to win most games, particularly at home. KenPom says we are 80% favorites, which is a nice number. I’ll go with that. Gophers win in a close one that gets iced by free throws late.
Minnesota - 73
Illinois - 66