The Gophers, losers of 4 in a row are hitting the road to face Nebraska, losers of 10 in a row. We’re thinking this is finally an opportunity for a Big Ten win. So is Nebraska.
KenPom Rank: 183
The entire season and statistical profile has not been very pretty for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are the worst team in the Big Ten in terms of offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency. They are possibly a worse rebounding team than the Gophers and they currently have an 0-12 record in the conference. Can the Gophers take care of business and get a win over the league’s worst team?
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
Paging Jamison Battle - Battle hasn’t really been quite the same since returning from Covid. He’s 8/27 shooting from three in those 4 games and averaging 13.5 points. Terrible? No. But not what he was consistently producing earlier in the season. As the team’s leading scorer, we need Battle to have a good game.
Win rebounding - Not very often I’m going to use this as a key. But Nebraska is ALSO really bad at rebounding. We rank 354th in offensive rebounding, Nebraska ranks 351st. Our defensive rebounding is 209th while Nebraksa, believe it or not, is worse at 317th. Maybe both teams will just get like 90% of defensive rebounds considering Nebraska isn’t very good on offensive rebounds and we basically don’t even try. But this is a chance to gain an advantage in of the 4 factors where we usually lag.
Don’t foul Bryce McGowens - The Nebraska freshman has had an incredibly productive season. The key here is really just keep him off the free throw line. McGowens shoots only 28% from three, but the 6’7” guard gets to the paint and he gets to the free throw line frequently. He ranks 73rd in the nation among all players in fouls drawn per 40 minutes. Keep him off the line, don’t get in foul trouble. I’ll be curious to see who draws McGowens at the tip.
Minnesota finally gets to a portion of the schedule where they are facing teams at or below their relative ability. I take solace in the fact that the Gophers have actually played well on the road. Wins at Michigan and Mississippi State while playing at Michigan State to within 2. So I’m not fearing a situation where we just stink on the road, like with previous teams.
This is the most confident I’ve been in a win since December. Should I be so confident? No, it is really just bias because I optimistically believe Minnesota will be better than Nebraska. But again...Nebraska is thinking that this is their chance at a conference win. They get the team that is currently the 2nd worst Big Ten team on their home court.
But I’m going with my optimism here. It think the Gopher defense is improved, I think Battle gets going a little and the Gophers finally get another win.
Minnesota - 77
Nebraska - 69