Minnesota Golden Gophers
Current record: 18-10
Big Ten record: 8-8
Current RPI: 93
Current Sagarin: 54
2006-07 record: 9-22
2006-07 RPI: 191
2006-07 Sagarin: 167
Series: IU leads 86-63
Last IU win: 1/17/08 (65-60 in Minneapolis)
Last Minnesota win: 1/29/06 (61-42 in Minneapolis)
Last Minnesota win in Bloomington: 2/18/04 (74-71)
TV: 7 pm tonight, Big Ten Network
Minnesota is much improved this season, but the Gophers probably need to beat IU, beat Illinois, and advance to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Gophers are 1-7 against the conference's top five teams, but are 3-3 on the road in conference. Had the Gophers been able to defend their homecourt a couple of times against IU, Wisconsin, or MSU (or, er, Illinois), Minnesota likely would be in the NCAA.
IU won the first game despite turning the ball over nearly 40 percent of the time. As before, Minnesota doesn't shoot particularly well and doesn't play particularly strong field goal defense. The Gophers win by maximizing possessions (offensive rebounding, taking care of the ball, forcing turnovers). IU's worst turnover performance of the season came at the Barn. Unfortunately, IU has almost uniformly struggled against such teams this year, and the Hoosiers will have to shoot well to win.
As for the Hoosiers, IU played its worst game in several years last Sunday. In the three games since Sampson's departure, IU has two close wins and one disastrous blowout. It is Senior Night for DJ White, Lance Stemler, Mike White, and Adam Ahlfeld. Senior Night usually means good things for IU, but this is a loseable game.