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Minnesota Basketball: Three Keys to beating Pittsburg in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

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Can the Gophers win the the road against and ACC opponent?

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh

6:00 PM

ESPNU

Pittsburgh

And now we get an interesting game for the Gophers as they hit the road to face a Power 5 opponent in the Big Ten / ACC Challenge. Iowa and Illinois got the Big Ten off to a 2-0 start, can the Gophers help the Big Ten along with another win?

Let’s find out.

Pittsburgh

Mascot: Panthers
Conference: ACC
Record: 2-4
KenPom Rank: #199

Pitt is not very good this season, is this another prime opportunity for the Gophers?

KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN

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Turnovers - Pitt ranks 333rd in the country in offensive turnover percentage, giving up the ball on almost a quarter of their possessions. Certainly this is a point of emphasis for Jeff Capel, but winning the turnover battle and keeping them frustrated will help a ton.

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Stop Hugley inside - The Pitt big man is leading the team in scoring and rebounding as a 6’9” sophomore. The Gopher interior defense, presumably starting with Jamison Battle, is going to be key to keeping Hugley in check and not letting him have a huge game.

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Rebounding - This is our biggest weakness and the Panthers are OK, especially with offensive boards. Control the boards, especially on defense.

PREDICTION

The Gophers are about 2.5 point favorites for this game. Pitt is off to a rough start having already lost to The Citadel and Maryland-Baltimore County. The Gophers have beat the teams they are supposed to beat and seemingly getting stronger as they go.

But this being the team’s first true road game and going up in competition a little bit, I don’t have a great feeling about this game. This is a close lose and the first blemish on Ben Johnson’s record.

Minnesota - 65
Pittsburgh - 69