This is going to be an inconsistent season and navigating the Big Ten is going to be very challenging. The Gophers have alternated conference wins and losses this season. Here is an opportunity for back to back wins and get above .500.
The Nittany Lions sport a much better overall record but a weaker non-conference schedule is boosting that. In reality, these teams are fairly similar in terms of where they stand in various rankings. Can the Gophers beat a sneaky good Penn State team at home?
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
Contain Lamar Stevens - The senior forward for Penn state is averaging over 16 points per game and is very dangerous.
Watch Out for Their Bench - Guys like Izaiah Brockington and Curtis Jones are capable of having big games off the bench. The Gopher bench is not strong and really only 2 deep. Penn State will play 9 guys 10 minutes or more with a couple of them capable of lighting up the scoreboard.
Find that Third Scorer - I think at this point we know what we will get from Daniel Oturu and Marcus Carr. But finding a third scorer is what really makes this offense flow. Sometimes it is Gabe Kalscheur, sometimes it has been Peyton Willis and in the second half of the Michigan game it was Alihan Demir. Ideally it will be a shooter, but finding a third scorer is key.
The way the Big Ten is so balanced and nobody seems to win very many in a row or lose a bunch in a row, this game makes me nervous. Penn State has dropped 2 in a row and now get a tough road game while Minnesota is trying to win their first back-to-back conference games this year.
I really like how the Gophers are getting better and how they play at home. The Penn State depth and more balanced scoring makes me nervous but I’ll tentatively go with a Gopher win today.
Minnesota - 73
Penn State - 71