Indiana Hoosiers v. Minnesota Golden Gophers, game 1: Hoosiers try to rebound from blowout road loss (again).

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Current record:
12-5 (3-2)
Current RPI: 46
Current Sagarin: 37
Current Pomeroy: 15
2008-09 record: 22-11 (9-9), lost to Texas in first round of NCAA Tournament
2008-09 RPI: 42
2008-09 Sagarin: 36
2008-09 Pomeroy: 51
Series: IU leads 88-66
Last Minnesota win:
2/10/2009 (63-54 in Minneapolis)
Last IU win: 3/5/2008 (69-55 in Bloomington)
Last Minnesota win in Bloomington:
1/25/2009 (67-63)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 4:30 p.m. today, Big Ten Network

Blogs: The Daily Gopher, From the Barn

After four Big Ten games, the trend is clear: IU has been competitive at home and has played very poorly on the road.  IU has a chance to continue the postive trend against its toughest Big Ten home matchup to date, the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  This game looms large for the Gophers and their Big Ten and postseason aspirations.  Here are the current Big Ten standings:


Big Ten Conference Standings

(updated 1.17.2010 at 2:42 AM EST)


Minnesota can remain in the hunt, somewhat, if the Gophers win today.  The Hoosiers likely are playing for little but pride and improvement, but a win today would put IU in the middle of the pack of the Big Ten standings (well, the low end of the middle, a three way tie for 7th place), while a loss would drop IU to 1-4 and would place them among the dregs, Iowa and Penn State.  That's probably where we belong, but I would love to be proven wrong.  

As they did last year, the Gophers excel defensively.  Minnesota currently ranks #2 in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, #4 in defensive turnover percentage (over 27 percent), #25 in two point field goal percentage, #7 in percentage of shots blocked, and #5 in steal percentage.  Of course, IU's worst tempo-free offensive numbers are for turnovers, blocks, and steals.  Gulp.  No wonder Tom Crean showed the team a "highlight" video of all of IU's turnovers from the Big Ten season.  

While not as overwhelmingly good as their defensive numbers, the Gophers' tempo-free offensive numbers show a top 100 ranking for Minnesota in turnovers, three point shooting, two point shooting, blocks, and assists to field goals made.  Simply, as is typical for a Tubby Smith team, are a very sound team.  Minnesota is only 2-5 away from the Barn and only 1-3 in true road games.  Still, unlike Illinois, IU's most recent homecourt opponent, the Gophers don't have any particularly horrible losses.  Minnesota lost to Portland on a neutral court, but Portland also has wins over UCLA and Oregon.  The Gophers' other losses are to Texas A&M, Miami, Purdue, and Michigan State.  Minnesota has wins over Butler and Ohio State.  A loss to IU would be a low moment compared to the rest of the Gophers' resume.

Who are the individuals that IU should watch?


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Lawrence Westbrook 16 24.4 5.1 10.1 50.9 1.6 3.9 41.3 1.8 2.4 74.4 0.3 2.3 2.6 1.7 2.1 1.3 0.1 2.1 13.7
Blake Hoffarber 17 23.7 4.0 7.4 54.0 2.9 5.7 50.5 0.9 1.1 83.3 0.9 2.6 3.5 1.6 0.6 0.5 0.1 1.1 11.8
Damian Johnson 17 26.0 4.2 8.1 52.6 0.4 1.1 31.6 2.1 3.1 67.3 1.5 2.6 4.2 2.4 1.6 2.4 2.1 2.8 10.9
Devoe Joseph 17 19.5 2.8 7.4 37.6 1.1 3.5 31.7 1.2 1.9 65.6 0.8 1.4 2.2 2.4 1.4 0.7 0.0 1.1 7.9
Ralph Sampson III 15 23.1 3.1 5.8 52.9 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.4 2.5 56.8 2.3 3.5 5.9 1.8 1.3 0.5 2.2 2.3 7.5
Al Nolen 17 25.6 2.0 5.2 38.6 0.6 1.6 40.7 2.1 2.9 73.5 0.6 2.5 3.1 4.8 1.6 2.5 0.1 2.0 6.8
Paul Carter 17 14.8 2.5 4.9 50.0 0.2 0.6 40.0 1.2 1.6 74.1 1.1 2.1 3.2 0.5 1.2 0.8 0.2 2.3 6.4
Rodney Williams 15 14.4 2.3 4.3 54.7 0.4 1.5 26.1 0.9 1.5 63.6 1.1 1.0 2.1 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.2 6.0
Colton Iverson 17 18.1 1.7 4.1 41.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.5 2.7 54.3 1.6 3.7 5.4 0.7 1.5 0.4 0.8 2.1 4.9
Devron Bostick 8 10.0 1.4 4.0 34.4 0.0 0.9 0.0 1.1 1.6 69.2 1.1 1.4 2.5 0.6 0.5 1.3 0.4 1.0 3.9
Justin Cobbs 16 11.9 0.8 2.4 31.6 0.2 0.9 21.4 0.7 0.9 78.6 0.0 0.9 0.9 1.3 0.9 0.5 0.1 0.8 2.4
Royce White 1 6.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

 

Obviously, the Gophers have a balanced scoring attack and a deep bench.  Lawrence Westbrook and Blake Hoffarber are deadly three point shooters.  Ralph Sampson III and Damian Johnson block lots of shots.  Johnson and Al Nolen produce lots of steals.  Further, Minnesota is fairly tall, with Sampson at 6-11 and Colton Iverson at 6-10.  

So, do the Hoosiers have a chance?  Pomeroy says yes, but only 13 percent.  IU will have to play better than it has played in any Big Ten game this season to win. Ultimately, better ball protection and a less stagnant offense would be progress.   After tomorrow, the Hoosiers play two of their most winnable remaining games: at Penn State, home against Iowa.  Hopefully the Hoosiers can enter that stretch on a winning streak.  

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