After a win in Madison last month, the Gophers are going for their first sweep of the Badgers since the 2008-09 season. And they get the second leg of the sweep at home, giving them a greater chance of pulling off this rare feat. Can they get it done?
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
Post Defense - One thing that has really bugged me about this year’s Gopher interior defense is that our big men get posted up so deep in the paint. Clearly fronting or half-fronting of the other team’s bigs isn’t what we do. But then there has to be some resistance to letting them get both feet firmly planted in the lane, making it easy for talented big men to score. Ethan Happ is that big man who can score at will if allowed to catch the ball so close to the hoop.
Secondly...don’t foul. Oturu, Curry and Murphy need to stay out of foul trouble.
Get to Shooters - As mentioned in the preview, this Badger team can shoot. They work inside out, and once they start getting looks from outside they do very well. The game in at Madison saw them shoot just 2/14 from three in the first half and unsurprisingly they only had 14 points. When they scored only 15 in the first half at Maryland, they were 0/8 from three. Absolutely have to keep their shooters from getting open looks.
No Offensive Lapses - Offensive lapses killed any chances of closing out a win at Purdue, led to a blowout at Illinois and very nearly erased leads in a few other games. Keep the same intensity and pressure on your opponent throughout.
I actually really like how we match up with Wisconsin. We have a few big men who can defend in the post and block shots. We have length on the perimeter to defend shooters and we play really well at home. With that said, I am going to pick Wisconsin.
Minnesota - 61
Wisconsin - 64