MinnTerm Exam

We haven’t had many shots at quality wins in BWA the last few years. Because we will have many chances in a strong SEC this season, I wouldn’t call this game critical, but it would be nice to take advantage of this opportunity. The nonconference scalps of Bucknell, OU, UConn, and Minny would look nice in March when the seeds are being set.

It won’t be easy. Minnesota isn’t an ideal matchup for us. In personnel they may have the best frontline that we have seen. Lynch is one the better pure post players that we will compete against. He outweighs Gafford by 40 pounds according to roster info. Lynch, on the other hand, may have trouble with Gafford’s athleticism. Trey needs to step up on D in this game. His mass should come in handy.

Lynch’s partner in crime Jordan Murphy is the type of mobile, combo forward that has moidered us in a couple of games. He uses his quickness to get to the rim where he takes half his FGAs (similar to Gafford) and finishes with efficiency. He gets to the line a lot where he converts at a 75% clip. Our best matchups for him are probably Bailey, Cook, and Hall. Somebody needs to know what flavor he is after the game.

Those two are surrounded by three 40%+ arc shooters. PG Mason dishes at a high rate without TOs. They shoot FTs well up and down the lineup. In short, they don’t possess any glaring weaknesses on O. However, other than frosh Isaiah Washington the Golfers don’t have a lot of scoring off the bench. Any foul trouble in theory makes life easier on the D.

Their D is nearly as impressive. Their interior defense is stingy, they don’t give much back on the boards, and they don’t foul much. The Gophers don’t force many TOs, though. Aggressive defense has been our Achilles heel. Their most glaring weakness is surrendering 8 treys a game on 38%. Our bevy of shooters need to show up, though Pitino will probably adjust the defense accordingly. If Gafford et al. can do some damage inside, we might be able to break them down. Here’s hoping.

Looking at the season stats of our opponents, we have three tells in terms of our losses. I’d take this with a grain of salt after only 8 games with two losses away from BWA, but we have yet to defeat teams that

  1. Hold opponents to less than 0.95 points per possession (Minn. - 0.96 ppp). Right on the border.

  2. Allow 2-pt FGs less often than once every 4.74 possessions (Minn. - 4.3 possessions per 2-pt FGs). So, Minnesota is good at shutting down the inside, but not as good as UNC and Houston.

  1. Get an assist on O more often than once every 4.3 possessions (Minn. - 4.2 possessions per assist). Solidly inside the danger zone.

That adds up to us having had trouble against teams that excel at shutting down the lane on D and sharing the ball on O. Minnesota has been strong in those categories. Throw in the dicey personnel matchups, and Minnesota presents us with some tests that we have flunked earlier in the season. We’ll see how much progress has been made.

They have a short bench (really only 6 get significant mins) and this will be their second road trip this week. I would imagine Mike is going to want to push pace even more than usual, may look dicey early but should be squarely in their legs by the 10min mark of the 2nd half.

I honestly don’t expect to win this one (some matchups are just bad). Still like this team a lot.

Games like Houston are going to happen. Liked the bounce back game.

These are the games that we have to start winning if we are to get any respect as a program. We cannot afford a thumping today, these guys score in bunches like we do and will be a game of runs it would seem. Squeaking out a win would suit me just fine and would be a real confidence builder for these guys. You have to like this team and the talent they possess and Now is the time to make a statement! WPS

Comments: I agree, how you liken now

looked great today! Gafford really improving and so is Thomas…CJ continues to be on fire just wish we were more consistent,can look great and terrible… hopefully we can continue to get better ,the West is tough this yr!

They aced that test. Good game hogs

Yes, they did. The offense was spectacular with a broad team effort. It’s difficult to judge the defense because of the refs. The final numbers weren’t great, but, when you get called for fouls for having a player throw the ball at you, it’s kind of difficult to keep the other team off the line. Minnesota couldn’t get much going without the whistles.

Just what the doctor ordered, showed up ready with a great crowd ! WPS

On further review our D was better that I thought when eyeballing the numbers, even with all the fouls. By my estimates we held them to a modest 1.04 ppp, which is impressive considering they got a cornucopia of FTAs that would make you believe the game was played in the Great White North.

Otherwise, we held them well below their averages in 2-pt%, 3-pt%, and and Oreb%. A symptom that we took them out of their offense is that their assist rate per possession was cut by almost half relative to their season average. They were reduced to putting their head down and getting bailed out by the refs for any contact.

The offense was spectacular. We had an eFG% of 65%! For the third time in four games our 2-pt FG% was 60%+. It was also the fourth time this year that we shot over 55% from inside the arc and over 40% outside the arc. Last year’s squad did that once, and that was a top-30 offense nationally.

The ball handling has been off the charts in the last two games. With sparse TOs we moved up to #11 in the nation in fewest TOs per possession. Likewise, it was our second straight game in which we had an assist at just over every 3 possessions. By comparison, we needed over 10 possessions to get an assist against Houston. Message from the staff has apparently been received about keeping the ball moving.

Pretty much how I called it. It was obvious when they couldn’t make a run in the first 8mins of the 2nd half it was over. Too much depth on our end.

According to today’s game story in the Minneapolis paper, they have some significant injuries that make that short bench even shorter.

To me this game proved we have the raw talent to overcome pretty much any bad matchups. We probably won’t play as well as we did against minn in every game where we don’t match up well, but we have the ability to do so and MA has got to indoctrinate these guys to that fact. I will admit the Houston game still has me concerned because I thought at some point pure talent, determined leadership, and superior coaching would get us back into the game -even if it didn’t produce a win. Generally, really good teams don’t get blown out by opponents they should beat - even though anyone is subject to getting upset at any time, especially on the road.

The '95 runnerup lost two games by 20+ and another by 14. A couple of years ago the Nova champ lost to OU by 23 in December. Not saying this team is at that level, but it points out how difficult it is to avoid a few stinkers.