clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Minnesota Basketball: Previewing Northwestern

Gophers come back home after narrow road loss at Purdue

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota left a huge opportunity for a road win on the table on Thursday against Purdue, falling to the Boilermakers in double overtime in a game the Gophers should have won multiple times. At the end of regulation and the first OT the Gophers held leads in the final minute before crucial turnovers sunk their upset efforts.

Marcus Carr took away as much as he gave, as the point guard committed crucial turnovers down the stretch after almost singlehandedly leading the Gophers to victory with more acrobatic layups and finishes. Unfortunately, their timing was disastrous, and come rapid fire succession late in the game. Daniel Oturu, meanwhile, smashed his career high with 29 points, notching his third straight 20-point game, to go with 18 rebounds.

For Minnesota, it was a huge miss for an opportunity to score a rare road win against Purdue, who came into the game ranked 12th in KenPom. The Gophers don’t get another shot at the Boilermakers in the regular season.

The silver lining? Once again the Gophers showed that they can hang with a very tough team in an unfriendly environment. That makes four straight applause-worthy games for a squad that looked completely lost just a few weeks ago.

Now, Minnesota gets Northwestern at home. The Wildcats have had a rough go of it so far, suffering losses to Merrimack, Radford and Hartford already this season, at home no less. The matchup provides a very winnable game for the Gophers.

Essentials:

Opponent:

Northwestern Wildcats (0-2, 5-7)

Date and Time:

Sunday, Jan. 5 @ 6:30 p.m. CT

Location:

Williams Arena

TV:

BTN

Radio:

KTLK 103.5-FM/1130-AM

Tell me more about the opponent.

Northwestern is not good, as evidenced by their seven losses, three of which have come from teams ranked 130 and above in KenPom. They’ve lost three games in a row - Michigan State, DePaul and Hartford, though they only lost by five points to the Spartans.

Their offense has sputtered all season, and they’ve only scored more than 80 points once all year. They score the fewest points per game in the conference and have allowed opposing teams to be very efficient from the floor. They also aren’t great at rebounding their own misses and have shot very poorly from three point land. They are one of only two Big Ten teams to have a negative rebounding margin, and Daniel Oturu should have a field day.

Four Wildcats average in double figures, led by freshman forward Miller Kopp who has back to back 20-point games. He shoots the three-pointer decently well and is one of the Northwestern players to watch on offense.

Predictions

The Gophers need to get back in the win column before a brutal stretch of Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State occurs, and facing the Wildcats is just what the doctor ordered. Oturu should have another big game and I think the Gophers cruise to a home victory by 10 points.