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Minnesota Basketball: 3 keys to the next 2 games and how to watch

Gopher hoops has 2 non-conference games before a break for finals, here are the keys to winning both

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Minnesota Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

After the Nebraska win, the Gophers have 4 more non-conference games before the meat of the Big Ten schedule gets going in January. Here are the next two opponents and the keys to ensuring your 6-3 Gophers improve to 8-3.

The Barn

12/9 at 11:00 AM

BTN

FGCU

Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

Record: 3-7
KenPom Rank: 240

Two of their three wins are against non-D1 programs. A 9-point win over the Ave Maria Gyrenes and a huge 23-point win over the Mighty Banyans of New College of Florida.

An interesting nugget is that the Eagles are coached by former Penn State head coach, Pat Chambers. He is now in his second season at FGCU and struggling to get this program back on track. Here is what it’ll take for a Gopher win.

KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN

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Execute on offense - One of my biggest frustrations this season is the lack of structured offense for 40 minutes. The Eagles are maybe the worst defensive team we will face all year, execute an offense and stay committed to this.

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Make threes! - FGCU ranks 360th in defensive 3pt%. Their opponents are shooting over 42% from behind the arc. We better make some threes, cause I suspect they’ll be very open.

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Avoid injuries - Garcia tweaking his ankle against Nebraska is not ideal, but hopefully he gets a chance to heal before December 1st and everyone else remains healthy.

PREDICTION

The Eagles are not very good and the Gophers would need to have a serious lapse in defense (and on offense) to lose this one.

Minnesota - 75
FGCU - 62

—————

Moving on to the second game before a week off for the guys to complete finals.

The Barn

12/12 at 7:00 PM

B1G+

IUPUI

IUPUI Jaguars

Record: 3-7
KenPom Rank: 351

We get the acronym kings of Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis. The Jaguars are currently the lowest-ranked team on our schedule. This should absolutely be a win for the Gophers. The Jaguars also have 2 of their wins over non-D1 schools. Narrow wins over D3 Spalding and NAIA Cleary.

KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN

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Still run your offense - I lied about FGCU, turns out the Jaguars are statistically even worse defensively. These are back-to-back games where you can get really good at executing offense.

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Keep Jlynn Counter of the lane - The Jaguars leading scorer takes a LOT of shots from inside the arc. He shoots 47% from three, but has only taken 19 shots from deep all season. He gets to the lane and then scores or distributes.

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Win turnovers - IUPUI turns the ball over a lot! So do we, but we have to win this stat on Tuesday.

PREDICTION

This has to be a big win. Get a big win to show that this team can handle it’s business against weaker competition.

Minnesota - 82
IUPUI - 69