Gameday preview: Gophers basketball at Ohio State
- February 21, 2014 - 9:22 PM
5 p.m. at No. 24 Ohio State • Value City Arena • BTN, 1500-AM
The Gophers at a glance: Minnesota (17-10, 6-8 Big Ten) is coming off perhaps its worst loss of the year — a 62-49 collapse to Illinois (a team that had previously lost 10 of its last 11) — but will need to rebound quickly with a stretch of three nationally ranked opponents in three games looming. Against the Illini, the Gophers had one of their worst offensive performances of the season, shooting just 37.3 percent from the field, including 4-for-25 (16 percent) from three-point range. With shots not falling from the perimeter, Illinois was able to collapse on the interior and effectively take away the Gophers’ inside scoring presence. Minnesota finished with just 24 points in the paint. Finding that inside approach again will be big against Ohio State, which was unable to slow Elliott Eliason the first time around. The Gophers have not swept the Buckeyes since 2004-05.
Ohio State at a glance: A lot has changed for the Buckeyes (21-6, 8-6) since they last saw the Gophers. Then, they were in the midst of their biggest skid, ultimately dropping five of six games, including their loss at Minnesota. Since then, Ohio State has turned over a new leaf, reversing the previous trend and winning five of their past six (including victories over Iowa and Wisconsin). As the year has gone on, the Buckeyes’ defense has only gotten better. Their defensive efficiency is ranked third in the country, according to kenpom.com. Their three-point defense is tops nationally, and they are sixth-best at not fouling. Aaron Craft — named a Bob Cousy finalist — and Shannon Scott rank 13th and ninth, respectively, in steal percentage nationally.
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