This is a very important game for the Gophers. After this game they go on the road to face Michigan State and Ohio State. They need to win this game or they will be in serious trouble of being 5-6 in the conference. A side note I am sick of Thursday night games that make me miss The Office and 30 Rock. Either they need to change the dates or someone should pitch in and help me buy a DVR, but I regress. Here is the Illini's resume:
Wins to showcase:
- at Purdue 71 - 67
- at Missouri 75 - 59
- at Michigan 51 - 66 (Other losses were at Michigan State and against Clemson)
- Shooting: Average 47.9% from the field, 1st in conference
- Sharing the Rock: 18.8 assists per game, 1st in conference, 3rd in nation
- Defense: Allow 56.6 ppg, best in conference, 4th best in nation
- Getting to the free throw lane: 285 attempts, last in conference, 333rd in nation
- Turnovers: 12.9 per game 4th worst in conference
Interesting things to watch:
- Ralph Sampson Vs. Mike Tisdale: Ralph has taken some big steps lately and has played some very good interior defense with blocks, but he will be facing someone taller than him in 7-1 Tisdale and will be challenged. If Ralph can hold his own and make his presence felt the Gophers could be in business.
- Perimeter Shooting: The biggest reason for the Gophers recent struggles is the lack of outside shooting. Illinois is the best in perimeter defense holding opponents to 27.6% from 3. The Gophers need Westbrook, Hoffarber, Joseph and Nolen to start making their shots from the outside to get the half-court offense going.
Illinois 67, Minnesota 59