The United Center
The regular season behind us, the excitement of elimination games ahead of us. The Gophers get a chance to solidify their NCAA Tournament bid beyond a shadow of a doubt and move up their seed with a win over Penn State today.
The last time these two teams played the Gophers were entering their toughest portion of their schedule while Penn State was in the midst of what would be an 8-game losing streak (10 straight Big Ten losses) for the Nittany Lions. But they went from the worst team in the conference to finishing very strong. Penn State went 7-3 in their last 10 games with wins over Michigan and Maryland in there.
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
Find a Third Scoring Option - Jordan Murphy is good. Amir Coffey is good. But when the Gopher offense has a third scoring option, the team is very good offensively. Maybe it is Kalscheur or McBrayer hitting from the outside. Maybe it is Oturu being a second dominating presence inside, but find a third option that forces Penn State to adjust.
Contain Lamar Stevens - The first team All-Big Ten player had 27 against the Gophers in their first meeting. That was nearly half of the Nittany Lion’s points. I’d like to think that if we contained Stevens, Penn State would struggle to score.
Get Bench Help - When we get 10+ points from the bench and 30 minutes, we usually win. In fact we always win close games when we hit those two marks.
I go back and forth on this one. Penn State is hot and I would have rather played most of the other teams behind us. But I like how we play too, especially when we get a controlled, aggressive Coffey. I’m going to go with my initial instinct that we lose this one.
Minnesota - 71
Penn State - 74