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Minnesota Women’s Basketball: Gophers to Take on Wisconsin-Green Bay in NCAA First Round

The Gophers will look to get past the Phoenix

NCAA Womens Basketball: Minnesota at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Golden Gophers play the Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix Friday March 16th, for the right to take on the winner of Oregon and Seattle (it’ll be Oregon) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

UWGB is the 7th seed and finished the season 21st in the country with an RPI of 23. They also boast a 3-1 record against the RPI Top 50. Overall, their strength of schedule is just outside the top 100 in the country, indicating two things. First they will be a slight favorite heading into the game. Second, they played enough real teams that the next statistic will be important. The Phoenix hold opponents to 46.1 points per game, and are 16th in the country in defensive rating. They are 4th in the country in opponent’s effective field goal percentage. This is a fantastic defensive team.

Offensively they are led by Jessica Lindstrom, who averages 15 points and 11 rebounds per game. Minnesota’s weakness all season has been playing against size because the front court leaves much to be desired.

Essentials:

Who are the Gophers playing?

Wisconsin Green-Bay (29-3)

What time are they playing?

Friday March 16th at 4pm

Where are they playing?

Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is a lovely college town that I encourage everyone to visit. Matthew Knight Arena is a pretty building with a history of heinous court design.

Can I watch the game on TV?

Of course you can. This is the Tournament. ESPN2 (as long as you are in MN or WI—if not, you will need to stream it on WatchESPN.

Can I listen to the game on the radio?

Probably. iHeartRadio is now bankrupt, but you should still be able to get the stream.

Prediction

There is not a quality website for women’s sports to do KenPom like prediction. On a common opponent metric, the Gophers pack a deadly scoring punch. If the Gophers play their best game, they can hang with any team in the country not named UCONN. We saw what the Gophers were capable of late in the season when they took Maryland to the woodshed.

The key matchup in this game will be whether Minnesota’s three guard attack can knock down shots against a stifling UWGB defense. Minnesota scores a lot of points, but does not tend to do so efficiently. In the Tournament, efficiency matters a lot.

That said, this is a Gophers blog, and to be honest I like the three guard attack to speed this game up. Minnesota by 5.