Record: 16-15 (9-11)
KenPom Rank: 93
The Gophers, as the lowest seed in the Big Ten Tournament are set to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers. One the one hand, Nebraska is only the 10-seed. But in reality, Nebraska may be the hottest team in the Big Ten (yes, I am familiar with Northwestern being the 2-seed) having won 6 of their last 8, including wins over Rutgers, Maryland and Iowa.
Nebraska was 2-0 against the Gophers in the regular season. You know what they say about how hard it is to beat the same team three times in the same season...
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
Get to the free throw line - Nebraska actually does a great job of not putting their opponent on the free throw line. And in our last game this was relatively true again. The Cornhuskers attempted 21 free throws while the Gophers took only 11. The strange thing is that we went 11/11. Hard to believe, I know. But maybe refs on a neutral court may even out free throws a bit and the Gophers can actually pick up a little bit of an advantage here.
Inflict Payne - Use that big body and this improving game to dominate inside. I want to see Payne own the paint (or should I say, paynt), get Derrick Walker in foul trouble and make a statement to the Big Ten that next year will be his year.
Make Threes - Make a lot of threes and put some pressure on the Cornhuskers. Some early threes, get a lead, see if they start forcing bad shots and then we hang on to win.
Not picking the Gophers, I’m not picking the Gophers, I’m not picking the Gophers.
But maybe they...NO, I’m not picking the Gophers. I don’t really think Nebraska is all that strong of a team, but they have taken down the Gophers twice for good reason and they really are playing much better now than they were earlier in the year.
Minnesota - 67
Nebraska - 75