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Minnesota Basketball OPEN THREAD: Gopher Basketball on the road facing Illinois

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Back on the road and facing the Big Ten’s co-leader.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Minnesota David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

Where

Champaign

When

6:30 PM

How

FS1



Who

Illinois



The Fighting Illini are hot right now, having won six straight Big Ten games. Of those six they have won three on the road (at Wisconsin, Purdue & Michigan). This team is playing great and hosting the Gophers.

Their 6-game win streak has them tied for the Big Ten lead. Can the Gophers notch another Big Ten road win?

KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN

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Box out - This was true against Michigan State and maybe more so true tonight. Illinois ranks 9th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage.

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Find a way to get to the line - We play much better when we get to the free throw line. This must be in part because we too often fall in love with settling for threes rather than attacking the basket first. Get to the line but pounding the ball inside and penetration.

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Make threes - Northwestern walked into Assembly Hall last week and nearly pulled off an upset. They did it by keeping the Illini off the offensive glass and they make 42% of their threes. Miami knocked them off earlier in the year in Champaign by making 55.6% from three. It’ll help, but perhaps AFTER we start scoring in the paint.

PREDICTION

On the one hand, Illinois hasn’t been all that impressive at home. They lost to Miami at home, Northwestern only lost by 3 and a few other games that were very close on their home floor. But they are a rather good team this year and we aren’t particularly consistent.

The Gophers pulling out a win wouldn’t be a huge shocker, but it isn’t likely. Gophers lose this one before they start rattling off a few more wins in the next couple weeks.

Minnesota - 62
Illinois - 71