Friday, January 2, 2009

Ohio State Game Preview

#21 Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-1, 0-1) Vs. #24 Ohio State (10-1, 1-0)

Ohio State started off the season very well with wins at Miami and beating Notre Dame in Indianapolis. Then David Lighty (9.7 ppg, 5.7 rebs, 1.9 ass) went down with a broken foot and backup point guard Anthony Crater unexpectedly transferred. Since then they got soundly beat by West Virginia and struggled to beat a mediocre Iowa team at home that was playing without leading scorer and drunk Anthony Tucker. With BJ Mullens (7.1 ppg, 3.6 rebs, .2 ass) not playing like the #1 incoming recruit they lack scoring outside Evan Turner and Jon Diebler.

This is a must win game for the Gophers, they beat Ohio State at home last year and they need this to make their case for legitimacy and a NCAA bid. I think they will need 9 wins and a good tournament run or 10 wins in the conference to make the tournament given the weak non-conference schedule and the Louisville win looking less impressive by each Louisville loss. If they lose this game they will have to win the 10 with only 7 home games left and it is hard to win on the road in the Big 10 especially with a young team like the Gophers have. They need Colt 45 to get extensive minutes and they have to keep Ohio State from getting second chances. They also need DJ Swat to get back to his shut down ways and stop Evan Turner who could take over the game.

I think the Gophers will play with great intensity and desperation after the beat down from Michigan State. I don't see a Tubby-coached team playing otherwise. He does need to limit the rotation and stop playing 10 and get it down to 8. I would like to see JAS and Travis Busch in the warm-ups for the majority of the game. We are facing the Buckeyes at the right time and I see us getting in the Big 10 win column.

Prediction Minnesota 71, Ohio State 67

Other Thoughts
  • Tomorrow is a big day for Gopher football. Two recruits are going to make their decision at the Army All-American Bowl. Bryce McNeal of Breck and Michael Carter from Florida have the Gophers among their finalists. Reports are that Carter will be a Gopher but McNeal will head to Oregon. The game is on NBC at noon.
  • Texas just lost any credence that they should be in the title game instead of Florida. Ole Miss (the team that beat Florida) stomped all over Texas Tech (the team that beat Texas) 47-34 in the Cotton Bowl. Ole Miss had 509 total yards and showed that Texas Tech might have been a little overrated. It also shows that maybe the Big 12 wasn't all it was cracked up to be but that will be decided on January 8th.
Stats of the Day
  • 3,100 : The number of tickets left unsold for the Vikings playoff game on Sunday
  • 243: Yards rushing by Ole Miss against Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl
  • 44: Number of saves made by Jaroslav Janus in Slovakia's upset win 5-3 over USA in the World Junior Championships ending Team USA's run.

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