This is a big game for Minnesota. While a loss won't hurt their chances of making the NCAA tournament. A loss will make it hard to get a seed higher than 8 or 9 and finish 3rd or better in the conference. If they are going to stay in 2nd place they need to protect the home court from other top 25 teams. Here is Purdue's resume:
Wins to showcase
- vs. Wisconsin 65 - 52
- vs. Davidson 76 - 58
- at Penn State 64 - 67
- vs Illinois 67 - 71
- Defense: Hold opponents to 36% from the field, best in Big Ten and 57.3 ppg, 3rd in Big Ten
- Scoring: Score 72.2 ppg 2nd in conference despite shooting 9th best 44.5%
- Robbie Hummel: 13.8 ppg, 7.9 rebs, 2.4 ass
- Shooting: shoot 35.4% from three and 44.5% from the field both 9th in conference
- Road Experience: Have only played 3 true road games. Only two road wins are Northwestern in which they were down 11 with 7:45 left and at Ball State who has an rpi of 208.
- Defensive rebounding: Opponents get 12.8 offensive rebounds/game most in Big Ten
Interesting things to watch
- Robbie Hummel Vs. Damian Johnson: Robbie Hummel was the preseason Big Ten Player of the year and has struggled with back issues but looks to be back in top form. Damian Johnson has a chance to make his case as the Defensive Player of the Year with a great game here.
- Al Nolen: He is coming off a bad game at Northwestern. Purdue feeds off turnovers so it will be up to Nolen to play fast but under control and lead the defensive intensity.
- Gophers response: The Gophers are coming off a bad loss to Northwestern and are coming back to Williams playing a very important game. All the students are back and so the Gophers need to get out to a good start to get Williams rocking and put doubt in Purdue.
Purdue has been very underwhelming so far this year but is coming off a throttling of Iowa at home. While that is not impressive it may have gotten them going in the right direction. They have All-Big Ten talent they just haven't put it together yet this year. If this game was at Purdue I think it would be an easy win for Purdue. However, this is a nationally televised game at a packed Williams Arena. Tubby should have the Gophers coming out hard and playing well, very similar to the Ohio State game. This will be very close but I think the Gophers will play with enough urgency to pull this game out.
Gophers 79, Purdue 78
- It is official. Jedd Fisch is the new offensive coordinator for the Gophers. It lacks great excitement but it will be interesting to see what becomes of the offense.
- In disappointing but who really cares news, Kevin Payton has been suspended indefinitely for academic reasons. He has appeared in only 8 games so far this year.
- Helping my opinion that Tubby is here to stay. The Star Tribune is reporting that Minnesota is evaluating ways to build a practice facility for the basketball team.