Minnesota Golden Gophers
Current record: 16-5 (5-4)
Current RPI: 19 (IU is #149)
Current Sagarin: 31 (IU is #92)
Current Pomeroy: 44 (IU is #60)
2009-10 record: 18-12 (9-9), lost to Xavier in first round of NCAA Tournament
2009-10 RPI: 62
2009-10 Sagarin: 43
2009-10 Pomeroy: 32
Series: IU leads 89-68
Last Minnesota win: 1/4/2011 (67-63 in Minneapolis)
Last IU win: 1/17/2010 (81-78 (OT) in Bloomington)
Last Minnesota win in Bloomington: 1/25/2009 (67-63)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 6:30 p.m. tonight, Big Ten Network
Blogs: The Daily Gopher, From the Barn
Indiana faces its first repeat opponent of the 2010-11 season when the Minnesota Golden Gophers visit Bloomington. IU played reasonably well on the road against the Gophers a month ago, when Jordan Hulls had a chance to tie the game with a three pointer in the final seconds before a Minnesota free throw sealed the victory. Minnesota and Indiana have been among the more attrition-prone Big Ten programs since the season began. When the last IU-Minnesota game occurred, the Gophers had just lost DeVoe Joseph, who left the team. Since then, the Gophers have lost Al Nolen, who wasn't having a great year but was an important part of the Gopher backcourt. Of course, since January 4, IU has lost three of its four top scorers (Christian Watford, Maurice Creek, and Verdell Jones III) to injury. While Creek and Watford seem likely to be done for the season, Jones may return, perhaps as early as tonight, but no one seems to know.
In the first matchup at Minneapolis, IU led for much of the first half and held an eight point lead at halftime, but a couple of well-placed Minnesota runs allowed the Gophers to prevail. The Gophers have been a strong team at home in the Big Ten, with a 4-0 record, but with a 1-4 record on the road. Minnesota's lone conference road win came at Michigan, and the losses on the road all have been respectable: Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Purdue. This game presents an opportunity for IU, but the Gophers unquestionably need to avoid the loss to remain in NCAA Tournament contention.
|Ralph Sampson III||21||28.3||3.9||8.1||47.4||0.2||0.7||26.7||2.9||4.0||72.3||1.8||3.6||5.4||1.5||1.3||0.6||2.1||2.6||10.8|
The main challenge that IU faces is the Minnesota interior. Ralph Sampson III, Trevor Mbakwe, and Colton Iverson all present matchup problems, especially with the Watford injury further thinning the IU frontcourt. On the other hand, despite the injuries, the IU backcourt has been scoring reasonably well. I would guess that IU will make every effort to get one or more of the Minnesota big men in foul trouble, and this will require a strong effort from Tom Pritchard, Bobby Capobianco, Will Sheehey, and Victor Oladipo. Other than the loss to Penn State, IU has played reasonably well at home, and tonight's game is an opportunity to build on that homecourt advantage. Unfortunately, the bad weather probably means that there will be a less-than-capacity crowd at Assembly Hall, although I would guess that those who want to get there from Indianapolis will not have all that much trouble. As I have said over and over, the NIT remains a longshot, but any hope for postseason play requires a win tonight and a win Sunday at home against Iowa. We'll see.