Head Coach: Richard Pitnio
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Conference: B1G 10
Nickname: Golden Gophers
Mascot: Goldy Gopher
Last time out: Lost to Northwestern
Typical Rotation Depth: 8-10 players
Opening Line: Nebraska by 8
Fun Fact : Minnesota and Rutgers are the only winless conference teams
Player to watch: Jordan Murphy
The 6'6" 230# freshman is one of the few inside threats for Minnesota team that doesn't like to play inside. As one of the few guys that rebounds on the entire team, you especially need to body him up on the offensive board. Like most freshmen post players, he's prone to fouling so the Huskers need to attack him in the paint.
Since the start of December the Gophers have been in free fall, losing to both South Dakota schools at home and starting conference play 0-4. They've done it with subpar shooting, terrible rebounding, and poor defense. This isn't a fast paced, pressing Minnesota or Pitino team...it's just a mess.
The Huskers have played well in spurts during conference play but really put it together against a hapless Rutgers team on the road. Don't be completely fooled as it's still the same up and down team with a lack of inside presence, but that weakness shouldn't hurt them much against a Gopher team that isn't real interested in working towards the rim. The Huskers should smell blood here and with the student section back in force have a chance to put away this Minnesota squad early.
A couple of things probably keep this from being a blowout though. First, Minnesota is going to rebound after being taken apart at home by Northwestern and often times going on the road is just what the doctor ordered. Second, the one place where Minnesota excels is getting to the free throw line which has been a huge issue for Nebraska. If there are lots of whistles tonight, it's probably a bad sign for the home team.
Look for the Huskers to weather any storms for the Gophers and hang on to win this one.
Prediction: Nebraska 76 - Minnesota 67 with a 95% chance of Runzas