#21 Gophers vs #6 Badgers (3:30 PM): Early Tip, Stats and Keys to Victory

Photo: David Berding - USA TODAY Sports

This blog is a last-minute reminder to #21 Minnesota Gopher basketball fans. Because it’s New Year’s Eve, today’s game at the Kohl Center vs the #6 Wisconsin Badgers tips off at a very weird time, 3:30 PM.

Make sure you pick your kids up early from daycare and that you have your dinner pre-planned. You will not want to miss this matchup. The Golden Gophers will be vying for their 3rd straight top-20 win.

(8-2) Wisconsin Big Wins / Losses

Big WinsScoreLossesScore
#23 Louisville85-48@ Marquette65-67
@ #12 Michigan State85-76Maryland64-70

(9-1) Minnesota Big Wins / Losses

Big WinsScoreLossesScore
Saint Louis90-82@ #13 Illinois65-92
#4 Iowa102-95
@ #17 Michigan State81-56

Odds (BetOnline.ag – 11:30 AM CT)

WIS: – 8.5WIS: – 400139

Key Players

G0D’Mitrik Trice14.23.23.2G5Marcus Carr24.06.13.8
F11Micah Potter12.21.86.9C0Liam Robbins13.10.86.8
G34Brad Davison10.62.82.9G11Both Gach11.73.56.3
F35Nate Reuvers10.30.83.9G22Gabe Kalscheur9.32.32.3

Big Ten Team Stats (thru 3 games)

Per Gm StatsMinnesotaB1G RankWisconsinB1G Rank
FG Attempts66.31st54.013th
FG %.39712th.4517th
3PT Attempts32.01st22.08th
3PT %.31311th.3646th
FT Attempts26.01st20.05th
FT %.7694th.7675th

Big Ten Opponent Team Stats (thru 3 games)

Per Gm StatsMinnesotaB1G RankWisconsinB1G Rank
FG Attempts70.714th54.31st
FG %.3822nd.4367th
3PT Attempts24.711th18.32nd
3PT %.3113rd.40013th
FT Attempts27.014th16.03rd

Keys to a Minnesota Gophers win

Control pace of play

It doesn’t take a basketball scientist to look at the numbers above and see that Wisconsin and Minnesota play completely different styles of basketball. The Gophers want to run and shoot a lot. They lead the Big Ten in points, FG attempts and 3PT attempts, even while they are near the bottom of the league in shooting percentages.

The Badgers hate running. They play like a classic Wisconsin team stuck in molasses. They don’t score very often but they don’t allow points either. I expect Wisconsin guards to continuously try to slow play, while Marcus Carr pushes the pace like he always does.

Wing Shooting

If the Gopher wings could shoot at all from behind the 3PT line in Big Ten play then all of the shooting stats above for Minnesota would be completely different. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. Gabe Kalscheur is shooting just 18% from 3PT and Both Gach has been inconsistent.

If the wing shooting improves, and everything else stays the same, the Gophers will win this game easily.

Another big day for Robbins

Much like the Spartans, the Badgers don’t have anyone who can matchup with Liam Robbins down low. He’s 3 inches and a lot of bulk bigger than any of their interior defenders. If Robbins can find success in the paint early, it could be a long night for the Badgers defense, especially if outside shooters are connecting from outside too.

Minnesotans everywhere

Most of Wisconsin’s team is Minnesotan. They won’t want to lose to Richard Pitino, who many of them believe slighted them during the recruiting process. That always brings more heat to this rivalry. We’ll see how it plays out in the Kohl Center without fans.

Late game Marcus Carr is always the X-factor

This is two really good teams who have a lot of pride and dislike for each other. I expect it to be close. The Gophers hold the advantage in any late close game situations because they have Marcus Carr.

He has the clutch gene and he loves showing it off. By the way, the Minnesota Gophers win this game later today because I just don’t think the Badgers matchup well against them.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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