The grind of the Big Ten season is relentless. After a weak performance at Indiana, the Gophers get a chance to get back into the win column with Iowa coming to the Barn on MLK Day.
Record: 10-6 (2-3)
KenPom Rank: 47
In December Iowa was struggling. They lost to Purdue by 21 and Iowa State by 25 in back-to-back road games. They followed that up with a 10-point home loss to Michigan. But they, like the Gophers, have figured some things out since then and have been playing much better. The Hawkeyes have a 2-game Big Ten win streak after beating Rutgers and Nebraska at home.
Can they get a conference road win or will the Gophers take advantage of being home and take care of the Hawkeyes to get back into the win column?
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
Turnovers matter - The Gophers had been better about not turning the ball over...until the Indiana game. Iowa has been great at not turning the ball over...except on the road. A little pressure, a few bonus possessions for the Gophers will go a long way.
Big man matchups are going to be huge - The Valpo transfer, Ben Krikke, is Iowa’s leading scorer and expected to be a huge matchup with Dawson Garcia. In addition, Pharrel Payne should have an interesting matchup with Iowa’s freshman center Owen Freeman.
Get to the free throw line - Be aggressive, get into the lane and hopefully get to the free throw line a lot.
I think this is a game that we win at home and lose in Iowa City. Having lost at Indiana hopefully is a bit of a wakeup call and there’s been a chance to get refocused heading into this game.
Iowa can score, they have a highly efficient offense. I suspect that they struggle a bit on the road and the Gophers need to come out playing well on both ends of the floor.
I’m going with a Gopher win today.
Minnesota - 77
Iowa - 70