JF

University of Minnesota Golden Gophers vs, Northern State Wolves

7:00 pm at Williams Arena (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Radio: WCCO 830 AM

Tv: None, but streaming live at the Big Ten Network

Tickets: plenty still left, best available is Row 13 in the corner of the upper deck

The Gophers will have plenty to improve upon when they take on Northern State, who was picked to finish second in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. In comparison, Saint Cloud State was picked to finish fifth. The Wolves have had a turbulent off-season, as their coach. the quite legendary Don Meyer battled cancer and a leg amputation.  He is not back at full strength, but he is able to attend games, and will be in attendance on Thursday. The Gophers hope to win in a non-ugly way, and show that they are the better team. On Monday, they won, but it could be argued their win was more of a non-loss.

Keys for the Gophers

  1. Cut down on bad turnovers. Most of their turnovers on Monday were unforced errors. Turnovers are part of the games, but giving the ball away should not be.
  2. Give the new guys a chance. Ralph Sampson III and Devron Bostick barely saw the floor against Saint Cloud State. Sampson III is sick, so his playing time may be less, but Bostick needs to find his role on the team.
  3. Create turnovers. This was the bread and butter of the Gophers success last year. Yes the Huskies had 22 turnover on Monday, but less than half were what could be called forced.

Keys for the Wolves

  1. Keep it close.The Gophers never got a 20 point lead on Monday. If the Wolves keep it closer than the Huskies, they could have a chance to win.
  2. Beat the press. Saint Cloud State showed the press can be broken, and the Gophers had to abandon it.
  3. Take advantage of Gopher turnovers. There will probably be plenty, and subsequently, plenty of chances to score easy baskets.

Key Players for the Gophers

  1. Devron Bostick should get more playing time than the other night, and will need to prove he deserves it.
  2. Al Nolen showed us he can score, but he needs to score and take care of the ball.
  3. Colton Iverson will probably get more playing time than Tubby Smith wants him to have. With Jonathan Williams hurt and Ralph Sampson III sick, he is the only center the Gophers have left.

Key Players for the Huskies

  1. Kevin Rasch, a 6’7” forward was picked as the NSIC preseason player of the year. Last season he averaged more than 16 points per game with better than 5 rebounds per game.
  2. Sophomore guard Derek Hoellein scored 20 points to lead the Wolves to a win in their first preseason game.
  3. Kyle Schwan, a 6’1” guard will need to solve the Gopher press.

Prediction

After Monday, a much more conservative 85-70 Gopher win.