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
|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|
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.