Remember a couple weeks ago when Illinois was a gimme game? Then they ripped us by 27 on their court and not long after that they beat #13 Maryland by double digits on a neutral floor. This is a dangerous team. It is a team with flaws, but when they are executing their style, they are very dangerous. But the Gophers need to make sure Illinois isn’t allowed to play their style.
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
Control Tempo - Lots of ways to make this happen but primarily they need to not have dumb turnovers that lead directly to points for Illinois. The Gophers really didn’t have a ton of turnovers in this last matchup, but seemingly every one they did have led to an Illini three about 2.5 seconds later. That’s not the pace things need to be played for Minnesota in this game. We aren’t slow, but we need to be in control here.
Own the Paint - This worked rather well for Minnesota in the Iowa game. Illinois defends differently but we need Murphy to do more than 11 points and 3 rebounds. This will go a long way toward helping out with the first key of controlling tempo.
No Easy Threes - I feel like if Illinois isn’t hitting threes at a 50% clip, they’ll struggle to score. Get to shooters, make everything tough.
No way we lose this one, there’ll be some alert players who are not going to be bitch-slapped again.
Minnesota - 77
Illinois - 64