Gophers get back to Big Ten action tonight with a trip to Purdue. This is a very different Purdue team than you may be expecting to see. Gone is Carsen Edwards and now the Boilermaker’s leading scorer is High Point grad transfer, Jahaad Proctor.
Always a very good defensive team with Matt Painter leading the program but not exactly the same caliber of team we are used to seeing. Did this team rip Virginia by 29 points at home? Yes they did. Did this team also lose by at Nebraska? Yeah, that happened too.
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
Inside Out on Offense - As always, need to find a couple guys making threes. Purdue is very good at defending the three so this may take some work. Oturu in the paint and Carr penetrating the middle to open up some shooters will have to be the plan.
Win the second 10 minutes - An interesting pattern has emerged for Purdue, they kind of suck for the last 10 minutes of the first half. Not every game, but enough that it stood out as a pattern. This lull didn’t happen in their Virginia win, and to no surprise they won that game handily. It also did not occur in the Marquette loss, but in that game it was the final 10 minutes of the game where they were badly outscored. I’m typically a fan of depth, but perhaps the players getting minutes should not be getting minutes and Painter’s best players should be playing more. I don’t know, but winning that second quarter of the game might be a key tonight.
No Foul Trouble - Particularly Daniel Oturu. Matt Harms is a unique player and he is the kind of guy who is going to draw fouls on his opposing big man. Oturu staying out of foul trouble will be key.
Don’t look now but I’m starting to gain some confidence in this team. When Oturu, Marcus Carr and Gabe Kalscheur are all playing well this team is going to be very difficult to stop. And for three games in a row things seem to be clicking for this trio and the rest of the team.
Purdue is still very good defensively and winning there is never easy. So I’m not yet ready to call for a road win against a good Big Ten opponent. Purdue wins in an ugly one.
Minnesota - 61
Purdue - 66