Indiana Hoosiers at Minnesota Golden Gophers: IU seeks to avenge only home loss (preview).

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Current record: 17-11 (5-10)
Current RPI: 77 (IU is #19)
Current Sagarin: 49 (IU is #11)

Current Pomeroy:
52 (IU is #14)
2010-11 record: 17-14 (6-12)
2010-11 RPI: 85
2010-11 Sagarin: 57
2010-11 Pomeroy: 57
Series: IU leads 90-68
Last Minnesota win: 1/12/2012 (77-74 in Bloomington)
Last IU win: 2/2/2011 (60-57 in Bloomington)
Last IU win in Minneapolis: 1/17/2008 (65-60)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 1 p.m. Sunday, ESPN

Blogs: The Daily Gopher, From the Barn

Minnesota's fortunes are roughly where they were when these two teams last met. That meeting, of course, was a 77-74 Gopher win at a time when IU was 15-1 and ranked #7 in the nation and the Gophers, after a strong non-conference season, were 0-4 in the Big Ten. The Gophers once again find their backs against the wall. Minnesota gave Big Ten leader Michigan State a strong fight earlier this week, but ultimately lost to drop to 17-11/5-10. If the Gophers have any hope of an at-large NCAA bid, they must find a way to win their remaining games: at home against IU, at Wisconsin, and at home against Northwestern. It's unlikely, but stranger things have happened in the Big Ten this year (did I mention that Iowa just swept Wisconsin?). As for IU, the Hoosiers hopefully will be heavily motivated to avenge their only home loss of the season, and this also is IU's last true road win, meaning it's IU's last chance to do any damage to the Hoosiers' "can't win on the road" reputation.
A minor trivia point: this is a rare opportunity for IU to pick up a "reverse split," i.e., splitting the season series 1-1 with a Big Ten foe, but losing the home game and winning the road game. IU hasn't been part of a reverse split since 2004. While most IU fans remember that as IU's first losing season in over 30 years, it's easy to forget that the Hoosiers began the Big Ten season 5-1 with 3 road wins (IU then lost 9 of its final 12 games). In 2004, IU won road games against Ohio State and Minnesota before later dropping home games to both. Of course, in both of those instances, IU was the team that couldn't finish after completing what should be the more difficult leg of a two-game sweep (the Purdue game next week presents the same risk as well). To find the last time that IU avenged an earlier home loss with a road win, it's necessary to go all the way back to 1985-86, the "season on the brink," when IU lost in early January at home to Michigan State but avenged the Spartans in East Lansing a couple of months later. Of course, for much of that stretch, IU simply didn't lose very many home games, and tended to do so only to very good teams. But it still surprises me that it's been nearly 26 years since IU followed a home loss with a road win against the same team in the same season.


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
Trevor Mbakwe 7 28.7 4.1 6.9 60.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 5.7 7.9 72.7 3.9 5.3 9.1 1.4 3.1 1.1 1.7 2.3 14.0
Rodney Williams 28 31.2 4.4 7.8 56.7 0.4 1.2 32.4 1.8 3.3 54.9 1.8 3.5 5.4 1.8 1.4 1.4 1.5 2.6 11.0
Julian Welch 28 25.9 3.4 7.1 48.0 1.3 2.9 43.8 2.4 2.9 82.7 0.5 2.1 2.6 3.2 2.4 1.0 0.3 2.3 10.5
Austin Hollins 28 26.4 3.0 7.0 43.1 1.3 3.6 34.7 1.3 1.5 86.0 1.0 1.5 2.5 1.9 1.4 1.0 0.4 2.1 8.6
Ralph Sampson III 25 22.8 3.3 6.5 50.9 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.2 1.4 88.6 1.1 3.5 4.6 1.8 1.6 0.4 1.2 2.7 7.9
Andre Hollins 27 17.0 1.8 4.9 37.4 0.9 2.3 39.7 1.6 1.8 89.6 0.1 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.7 0.9 0.1 1.9 6.1
Chip Armelin 28 14.5 2.3 5.2 44.5 0.6 1.8 31.4 0.5 1.2 41.2 0.7 1.3 2.0 1.1 0.8 0.5 0.1 0.6 5.7
Joe Coleman 28 16.1 1.6 3.7 44.2 0.1 0.3 25.0 2.2 2.9 75.6 0.8 1.8 2.5 0.9 1.0 0.8 0.1 1.0 5.6
Maverick Ahanmisi 27 15.7 1.1 2.9 38.0 0.4 1.2 30.3 1.0 1.5 67.5 0.3 1.3 1.6 1.9 1.1 0.5 0.1 1.3 3.6
Oto Osenieks 27 11.3 1.3 2.8 44.7 0.4 1.3 30.6 0.4 1.0 46.2 0.6 1.0 1.6 0.6 1.0 0.4 0.3 1.4 3.4
Eliott Eliason 28 14.0 1.0 2.1 48.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 1.0 39.3 1.1 2.6 3.8 0.8 0.5 0.3 0.7 2.0 2.5
Andre Ingram 21 6.3 0.5 1.0 55.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.7 42.9 0.3 0.7 1.0 0.0 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.7 1.3
Chris Halvorsen 7 1.9 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.3 50.0 0.4 0.9 1.3 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1
Kendal Shell 7 1.6 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0


With the loss of Trevor Mbakwe to a knee injury before the Big Ten season began, the Gophers have struggled offensively. They are just over one point per possession offensively, and have particularly struggled to take care of the ball, turning it over 22.8 percent of the time in Big Ten play (IU, which is nobody's idea of sure-handed with the ball, turns it over 18.8 percent of the time). On defense, as has been typical of the Gophers in the Tubby Smith era, they are very solid. Minnesota plays above average field goal defense both inside and outside, and with Rodney Williams and Ralph Sampson III in the mix, it's unsurprising that Minnesota is #1 in Big Ten play, and #14 nationally, in blocked shots. This is a problem for IU, which gets a ton of its shots blocked.

This has been a very strange season for the Big Ten's more challenging venues. The Gophers are 5-10 in the Big Ten, but are only 2-5 in Big Ten games at the Barn. Minnesota beat IU on the road, but its best conference home win is over Illinois. (Mackey Arena, where Purdue has lost 4 Big Ten games, and the Kohl Center, where Wisconsin has lost 3 Big Ten games, are the others that come to mind as not themselves).

As I said yesterday, it's not the end of the world if IU loses, but I'm going to be extremely disappointed if the team looks as listless as in the early going at Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Iowa. A hard-fought game where IU loses by five because the Gophers make some timely plays at the end? Such is life. A game that IU loses by 5 after trailing by 15 in the first half? Not acceptable. Ultimately, the season probably rises and falls with the final two home games. If IU beats Michigan State and Purdue, nobody is going to dwell on what happens against the Gophers. But, just as IU pulled it together and grabbed a quality road win at Purdue when one was much needed, it would be really nice to spend the last week of the regular season playing for seeding and not with any risk of missing the Tournament. Make it happen, boys.

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