Just two more games of non-conference action and then the Gophers get into the meat of the Big Ten season. Sitting at 8-3 with a solid Big Ten win and two more opportunities to get better before January, this team is in a better place than they were a year ago.
12/21 at 7:00
But can the Gophers get a win over the Cardinals and get to their 9th win, matching their season total from last year?
Ball State Cardinals
KenPom Rank: 243
Believe it or not, this will be our 3rd toughest non-conference game of the season (it has been a weak schedule and Maine on Saturday is a slightly tougher opponent).
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
Do not foul - The Cardinals are doing a nice job of not fouling and also getting the line. This has been a strength for Minnesota as well, so this needs to work in our favor.
Rebounding is key - Ball State is very good at defensive rebounding (36th in the country), in their last loss to Indiana State they secured 85% of their defensive rebounds. One thing that has gone very well for the Gophers has been their offensive rebounding.
Basheer Jihad is good - A double-double in 4 of the last 6 games while averaging 18.5 ppg on the season. Jalin Anderson can light it up as well, while also getting 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game. These guys need to be held in check.
I’m starting to gain confidence in this Gopher team (again). This opponent is incrementally tougher and has a solid inside-outside combo. I’m concerned about this game without Braedon Carrington and the possibility of Dawson Garcia not playing.
Without both of them, this game may be close. If Garcia is back, we win by double-digits as he’ll make enough of a difference on both ends of the floor.
Minnesota - 75
Ball State - 62