Date: Tuesday, January 12th
Location of School: Minneapolis, MN
Coach: Richard Pitino (3rd year)
Mascot: Golden Gophers
2015-16 Record: 6-10 (0-4 conference)
Alright, another team that is under performing just like Nebraska. Only difference is they have the son of Rick Pitino as their head coach. I'm sure he loves the added stress.
They also have one of the more awkward chants out there.
2014-15 Season: 18-15 (6-10)
The Golden Gophers (I have to use it, too awesome not to) had a worse than expected year. The year before they made a decent run through the conference tournament and won the NIT. Unfortunately they could not capitalize on the success and went down a few steps. They ended the season second to last in the Big Ten and just ahead of Rutgers. So there's that, right?
Minnesota came into this season with a young team that took a decent hit to graduation. The transition into the year has not been the smoothest with their only decent wins against Clemson in the Big Ten/ACC challenge and Nebraska - Omaha (they're a scrappy team in a decent conference, look it up).
Like Nebraska they have had a hard time shooting all season and are fairly inconsistent throughout their games. As of this date they are only hitting around 41% of their shots. They also have a tendency to get in trouble with other defenses and can be turnover prone.
Players to Watch
Nate Mason - Nate is leading the team with 13 ppg and 4.1 apg. Both of which lead the team. However he does tend to take a lot of shots and is only shooting around 37%. He will need to clean it up if the Golden Gophers want to improve this season. He is also a little short at 6'1" but makes up for it with speed.
Joey King - He is one of the few contributing seniors on this team and averages 12.8 ppg and 3.5 rpg. He is probably their best big guy on the court but has had trouble this year against stronger competition.
Jordan Murphy - Jordan is a freshman who is becoming one of Minnesota's better players. He is currently averaging 10.4 ppg. At 6'6" he has become a beast under the basket and leads the team with a whopping 8.1 rpg.
What will probably happen
Nebraska hasn't played well all season. Yes, they beat Rutgers on Saturday but my town league basketball team could beat the Scarlet Knights. Fortunately for us, Minnesota has played worse. As of now they are on track for a worse season than last year and a lot of the blame is being shifted to the coaching staff and their inability to utilize the talent they have. Like Nebraska, they are a young team and have a ways to go to get to a competitive place. Also like Nebraska they have times where they can't seem to find the basket.
If we were playing in Williams Arena I would say Minnesota might have the edge. Lucky for us it's in Lincoln and the guys are coming of a solid game on Saturday that should help the team mentally. The Huskers have what they need to be able to pull this win off and send the Golden Gophers home with their 6th straight loss.