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The Minnesota game, take 2.

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Current record: 18-5 (6-5)
Current RPI: 25
Current Sagarin: 32
Current Pomeroy: 48
2007-08 record: 20-14 (8-10), lost to Maryland in first round of NIT
2007-08 RPI: 98
2007-08 Sagarin: 78
2007-08 Pomeroy: 61
Series: IU leads 88-65
Last Minnesota win: 1/25/2009 (67-63 in Bloomington)
Last IU win: 3/5/2008 (69-55 in Bloomington)
Last IU win in Minneapolis: 1/17/2008 (65-60)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 9 p.m. tonight, BTN

IU's home loss to Minnesota was one of the most disappointing of the season. Certainly, the Gophers were justifiably favored, but IU was in the game for the duration, but poor judgment in late game possessions and poor free throw shooting doomed the Hoosiers. Minnesota is 6-5 in the Big Ten and remains in the hunt for the NCAA Tournament thanks to a tough schedule and a nice non-conference win against Louisville. Minnesota is on track to get a bid, but certainly doesn't have much margin for error. And losing this game would be an error. Fortunately for the Gophers, the Barn has been a house of horrors for IU. Since IU's last outright Big Ten title in 1993, IU has won at the Barn only three times, including last season. That makes it among the worst road venues for IU in that time frame, behind Michigan State (0 wins since 1991) and tied with Illinois and Wisconsin. The difference, of course, is that those three schools have been very good during most of that period. In other words, better IU teams have lost to worse Minnesota teams up there.

As I noted before the last game, the Gophers present particular problems for IU because their strength's match IU's weaknesses. Minnesota leads the nation in blocked shot percentage, is #9 in steal percentage, and #44 in defensive turnover percentage. In conference play, Minnesota ranks second to Northwestern in turnover percentage and is the by-far leader in block percentage (over 11 percent of attempts, compared to about 3 percent by IU). The Gophers rank #3 in conference games in effective field goal percentage allowed. The Gophers have struggled a bit offensively in conference, shooting only 41.4 percent from the field (#10 in the conference, one spot behind IU) and only 32.5 percent from behind the arc (IU ranks #2 in the conference at 39 percent). Even Blake Hoffarber hasn't been immune. The Gophers have struggled with turnovers, surrendering the ball on 22.6 percent of their possessions, almost as bad as IU's 25 percent.

It's hard to be optimistic about this game. Minnesota is at home, needs a win, and should be able to disrupt IU's offense. And IU will be playing without Devan Dumes, sitting out the first game of his indefinite suspension for throwing some elbows against MSU and in earlier games.

For the Minnesota side, be sure to check out the Daily Gopher. From the Barn has a preview up, and advocates treating it as an exhibition game, essentially. With Dumes out, Minnesota probably could get away with it, but that seems like an odd perspective considering that the game in Bloomington was within a one point margin with 29 seconds remaining.