Today's game vs. No. 12 Maryland tips at 11:00 a.m. CT. Watch on Big Ten Network or listen live on 1500-a.m.
Five things to watch as the Gophers attempt to steal their first win of the league season:
1. Turnovers. Maryland's defense is solid, but doesn't force anything, so Minnesota should at the very least be able to have a good ball handling day if the Gophers aren't shooting themselves in the foot. Keeping the miscues to a minimum will be critical.
2. Fouling watch. The Gophers have been a bit foul prone this year and the problem resurfaced again on Wednesday in West Lafayette, when Minnesota was whistled 12 times in the second half and Purdue, just six times. Maryland has gotten calls and gotten to the line extremely well this season so if Minnesota gets into early foul trouble, it could be an issue once more.
3. A big test for the defense. So many scorers. Melo Trimble, Dez Wells, Jake Layman and Evan Smotrycz are all capable of lighting up the scoreboard so unlike the teams Minnesota has faced so far, there aren't just one or two guys to focus in on. What's more, the styles are totally different. Maryland doesn't exactly play slow, but it plays deliberate (uh, well, the score was just 17-14 over MSU at halftime on Tuesday). Can the Gophers press actually speed the Terrapins up?
4. Freshman point guard showdown. Maryland freshman Melo Trimble has probably been the best all-around freshman in the league so far. Minnesota freshman Nate Mason isn't quite on that level but he's been pretty darn good and shown plenty capable of scoring, distributing and swiping steals at a high level against any competition. The two will go head-to-head plenty when Mason steps in for senior starter DeAndre Mathieu. How will he look vs. a floor general who has gotten way more press than he has?
5. Watch out for Damonte Dodd at the back of the defense. The sophomore center isn't huge and he doesn't put up eye-popping numbers with one exception -- 6-foot-9 Dodd is blocking shots at a very high rate. He's averaging 1.7 a game and has the 27th best block percentage in the nation. The Gophers do a lot of work in the paint, so they'll have to be mindful of Dodd's active hands.