Gophers at a glance: It's difficult for all eyes not to be glancing at Michigan State's arrival to the Barn on New Year's Eve to begin the Big Ten schedule for the No. 13 Gophers (11-1). But on Saturday night, the focus will be on Lafayette, the sole game in a 19-day period in which players completed final exams before having a break for the holidays. The Gophers have won seven in a row, but for a team that has traveled more than usual during nonconference play, the rest should be beneficial. ... They are edging toward having five players average double digits in scoring thanks to Trevor Mbakwe's recent improvement bringing him to 9.2 points a game. ... As a team, the Gophers have improved as the year has worn on in many areas -- turnovers included -- but inconsistent shooting remains a concern.
Lafayette at a glance: While the Leopards (5-8) are coming off consecutive victories, it's been a long road overall so far for Lafayette, a Patriot League member located in Easton, Pa. The Leopards have played their share of tough teams -- two of their losses came at Kentucky and at Maryland, where at least they remained somewhat competitive -- but Lafayette has been the recipient of many less-respectable losses as well. ... The Leopards have three players averaging double digits, including leader Dan Trist, a 6-9 forward from Australia shooting almost 55 percent from the floor. ... Overall, the team is shooting 36 percent from three-point range and has two big threats in Joey Ptasinski (29 makes on the year) and Seth Hinrichs (28).