Head Coach: Richard Pitino
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Nickname: Golden Gophers
Mascot: Goldie the Gopher
Last time out: Beat Rutgers
Typical Rotation Depth: 6+
Line: Minnesota by 9.5
Tempo: B1G Fast
Style: High assist, low 3pt attempts
|Off. Reb. %:||36.0||28.5||29.1|
Most Frequently Used Lineup over the last 5 games
Both teams currently have a pretty established starting lineup.
The biggest thing to note is that he gave the presser from the PBA. One of the big downsides to this great arena is that often times we don't actually get to practice there.
Player to watch: Nate Mason
I honestly thought this guy was a senior last year. While Jordan Murphy might be double-doubling his way to B1G player of the year, Reggie Lynch is a block machine inside, and Coffey/McBrayer provide a ton of fire power, it's still Mason who sets the table offensively leading the team in assists. He's also leading the team in 3pt makes so you can't just sag off of him. This team will really punish you if you double team anyone so pestering Mason is the name of the game.
Minnesota has been as good as advertised this year with a win at Providence and their only loss coming with Dupree McBrayer out of the lineup. Their starting 5 is as good as anyone in the country but should anyone get in foul trouble and/or injured there is a decent drop-off. The Gophers tend to be pretty good at defending without fouling so it's not something you can really bank on.
While Michigan St is the overwhelming #1 2pt defense in Div 1, Minnesota buoyed by shot blocking Reggie Lynch is currently #3 in that category. While you can't completely stop bringing the ball inside, a lot of teams have been attacking Minnesota from outside and Nebraska finally seems but to that challenge. Nebraska's revamped lineup is currently just outside the top 100 in 3pt%. Can pick and roll with Copeland or Roby with a guard be effective? Miami ate up the Gophers in the Barn as the weak side defense was too slow.
Defensively you're looking to slow down Minnesota and hope they have a poor night from outside. It seems tempting to zone this team that doesn't shoot a ton from 3 but you have to wonder how effective it will be against a team that passes as well as the Gophers. A portion of the mental part of playing a team like this is realizing they are talented and will go on runs...you just have to be tough enough to answer back.
I think that generally we try to win every single game but it really seems like we're pulling out all the stops in this one to the point where you wonder if we're still trying to bring in new coach Scott Frost as the half time entertainment. This team really seems like it's talented enough to stay in some of these games in which they've been killed...are they tough enough? Is there an edge? To be honest I really should pick Nebraska to win tonight because they simply haven't shown they're a combination of willing and capable of winning this type of game. However, I think that at some point this team embraces the challenge of being undersized on the boards and this new ball sharing concept on offense. I think this game could be it.
Prediction: Nebraska 82 - Minnesota 79