Tonight the Minnesota Gophers welcome the Wisconsin Badgers to Williams Arena for a Big 10 match up worth watching. Both of these teams need this victory to help them move up in the Big 10 standings. The Badgers are sitting right now in third place and the Gophers are sitting in sixth place. Minnesota needs this win more than the Badgers do and will need to exploit their strengths to do so.
With the Badgers having the upper hand in this contest by winning by one the last time they played and by beating them 4-3 in the last four years, the Gophers will need to pull out all the stops. To come out victorious they will need to rely on their offensive rebounding and getting to the line and making their free throws. If they take the time to exploit these strengths in the game tonight this will be a closer game than most expect it to be.
The Gophers have been struggling lately and have lost the last six out of eight games. They have been struggling shooting the ball and closing out games. In their last game against Illinois, they blew a 12 point first half lead , trailed at the break and shot 38% in this loss at home. They only scored 53 points in their loss and need to find their shooting touch before it is too late. Even coach Tubby Smith talked about that loss,”You’re not going to win scoring 53 points.” They need to take the time to rediscover themselves and get back to how they played at the beginning of the season.
Coach Smith said this about his team in an interview, “I think we’re trying to do too much,” “We’ve talked about it before and it’s not being cautious. We found another way to lose the game instead of finding ways to win.” That statement is so true for these Gophers, they do end up finding ways to lose rather than to win lately. They have also been so kind to give the basketball away in about every game so far. They need to protect their court tonight and cut down on their turnovers to have a chance to come out with a win. Coach Smith even said, “If we could cut our turnovers in half we should be okay.” They would be better than okay, they will be back on track.
This win tonight is so important for the Gophers who need to get back their confidence after dropping out of the top 25. Look for the Badgers to pull out the victory on the road but don’t be surprised if I’m wrong.
John D. Hayden is a Writer and Contributor for RantSports.com, covering the NCAA and NBA. Follow John on twitter @jdhayden09, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.