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Minnesota Basketball: Previewing Central Michigan

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Gophers head back home after miserable road trip

The Gophers return from a brutal three-game road trip that saw them take diggers against Oklahoma, Butler and Utah. Perhaps more frustrating than the losses was that Minnesota was in position to win each of the games with just slightly better play. They outplayed Oklahoma for three quarters of the game before falling apart. Both Butler and Utah were begging to give the game away down the stretch before recovering.

The common theme so far has been poor shooting and lack of cohesiveness. The cohesiveness isn’t terribly surprising, considering the amount of new faces that are on the roster. The shooting, however, should make fans uneasy. This is supposed to be a substantially improved team from the floor, and has posted shooting percentages of 39, 33 and 35 in its past three games. That isn’t going to get it done.

Things get marginally easier as the Gophers return to Minneapolis for a four-game homestand and a friendly crowd. First up is Central Michigan, a MAC team that made the CBI last year, and hardly a pushover. The Chippewas are 3-0 on the year but will be away from home for the first time.

Essentials:

Who are the Gophers playing?

Central Michigan Chippewas (3-0)

What time are they playing?

Thursday, Nov. 21 @ 7 p.m. CT

Where are they playing?

Williams Arena

Can I watch the game on TV?

Sort of. It’s on BTN+, which requires an online subscription

Can I listen to the game on the radio?

Yes, KTLK 1130-AM/103.5-FM

Tell me more about the opponent.

The Chippewas present a sneaky trap game for the Gophers now that Minnesota returns from a true non-conference road trip. They a MAC team (so, mid-major) and they’re picked to finish second in the West division. They shoot three-pointers well and they get to the free-throw line at a crazy rate. That’s a good recipe for taking down a major opponent on the road.

Central Michigan’s schedule so far has been anything but difficult. They firmly defeated a pair of NAIA foes in Michigan-Dearborn and Siena Heights, took care of the hapless Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils and finished up with a victory over Sam Houston State. So, not a ton to write home about.

As such, six Chippewas are averaging in double figures, led by senior guard Dallas Morgan, averaging nearly 20 points per game, and senior forward David DiLeo, who is scoring more than 19 points per game and is an absurd 16-33 from three point range for the season.

Predictions

The Gophers are reeling, but a return home and a draw down in competition should help them right the ship. Central Michigan will hardly be an easy job, but assuming the Gophers can keep turnovers to a minimum they should be able to out-muscle the Chippewas.

I’m taking Minnesota by five.