Thursday, January 8, 2009

Preview Extravaganza

#22 Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-1, 1-1) at Iowa Hawkeyes (11-4, 1-1)

This should be interesting as it is the Gophers first road game in the Big Ten this year. On paper it should be an easy win as Iowa appears to be in the bottom third of the Big Ten.
Here is Iowa's Resume:

Wins to showcase:
  • Vs. Kansas St. (11-3) 65-63
  • Vs. Iowa St. (11-4) 73-57
Loses to hide from:
  • at Drake (12-4) 43-60
  • vs. West Virginia (11-3) 68-87 (The size of defeat is the issue not the quality of teams)
  • 3-pt shooting: 1st in conference with 40.9%
  • Free Throws: 2nd in conference with 74.3%
  • Defense: 1st in conference with 55.9 ppg
  • Rebounding: last in conference with 30.9. Second to last has 34.5
  • Size: Cyrus Tate is tallest starter at 6-8, Andrew Brommer is tallest player at 6-9
  • Scoring: 9th in conference with 64.7 ppg
The Gophers so far this season struggle with teams that are athletic and strong on the boards. This is the opposite of what Iowa is, they stand around the arc and lack any size. They would be the type of team they should handle. What the Gophers will need to do to win is similar to when they play Northwestern push the pace and make them play their tempo and guard the perimeter.

Interesting things to watch
  • Minnesota connections: Anthony Tucker is the leading scorer with 11.8 ppg but has been suspended for public intoxication and has been reportedly been fighting mono. It is unknown how much he will play. Andrew Brommer (1.5 ppg 1.2 rebs) was recruited by Dan Monson but once Tubby came in he made it clear Brommer should look elsewhere. Instead we got RSIII and Colt 45. It should be a pleasant reminder of what the talent was before Tubby rolled into town
  • How the newcomers respond to a Big Ten road game. It should be interesting how Joseph, Iverson and RSIII play in a hostile environment. It should be easier for the post players as they will not face anyone with similar size. It will be more important to see how Joseph handle running the point with the crowd on top of him.

This is the type of game the Gophers need to win to clear a path to the NCAAs. They should be able to beat them with their athletisicm and size down low. If the crowd gets to the freshman, the Gophers should be able to rely on Nolen, Johnson and Westbrook. I think this gam might be close for awhile but the Gophers should pull it out.

Gophers 67, Hawkeyes 57

Check out the preview on the Daily Gopher, I will be on their during the game on their live thread.

Here is my thoughts on the College Football National Championship in Miami.
#2 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) Vs. #1 Florida Gators (12-1)

On paper this should be a great game, but some previous bowl games give some indication on the outcome of this game. In the Alamo Bowl Missouri's offense struggled with Northwestern holding them to 311 total yards. In the Holiday Bowl a mediocre Oregon got 565 yards and beat Oklahoma State 42-31. In the Cotton Bowl Texas Tech gave up 515 yards to Ole Miss (the team that beat Florida) and lost 47-34. Then in the Fiesta Bowl Texas struggled and lucked into beating an Ohio State team that had absolutely no passing game 24-21. That means the average score of the other four top Big 12 teams have lost 33.25 - 29.75. That might not seem like much but they were prohibitive favorites in all of the games.

I think Oklahoma will have offensive success but they have not faced defensive speed like they will see in Florida. Florida has too much speed and athleticism. It will be a fast, exciting, high scoring game but I think Oklahoma will struggle to keep up with Florida. It is important to note one fact that seems to be overlooked in the last 4 BCS games Oklahoma has been in they have lost all 4 being outscored 167 - 103 with losses to West Virginia and Boise State. The last BCS win was a Rose Bowl win over Washington State in 2002.

Prediction: Florida Gators 48, Oklahoma Sooners 38

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