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Minnesota Basketball: Can the Gophers beat #19 Michigan State? Here are your three keys.

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Three keys to beating the Spartans in the Big Ten opener

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at Michigan State Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Barn

8:00 PM

BTN

Michigan State

Well your Golden Gophers continue to win even as their level of competition continues to get better. After primarily playing teams that were ranking somewhere in the neighborhood of 200, the Gophers faced #190 Pitt on the road and then #46 Mississippi State, also on the road. Both were wins. Now they get a top 25 Spartans team at home. Can they remain undefeated?

Michigan State

Mascot: Spartans
Record: 7-2
KenPom Rank: 22

So MSU has played a near opposite schedule of the Gophers. They have faced five teams in the top 40, going 3-2 and losing to Kansas & Baylor. This will be no picnic for Minnesota, but can they pull it off?

KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN

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Find offense - The Spartans play great defense. They’ve played a number of very good teams and they rank #2 in defensive efficiency and #15 in defensive effective FG%. Minnesota has struggled offensively, other than the Mississippi State game.

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Rebound - The Gophers have been awful at offensive rebounding, like one of the worst in the country. And they started out the season doing fairly well on the defensive end. But the last three games have not gone well for defensive rebounding either. They cannot get killed on the boards to have a shot at beating the Spartans.

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3-pt Defense - A strength thus far and needs to be again tonight tomorrow. Currently the Gophers are #2 in the country in defensive 3pt%. That’s outstanding. Do it again.

PREDICTION

Just cannot in good conscious pick the Gophers tonight tomorrow. It will be really interesting to see how Johnson game plans for this game. Hoping for a game where the Gophers are competitive and can build some confidence. But I’m not calling this a win.

Minnesota - 64
Michigan State - 73