Preview: The Gophers (6-1) suffered their first loss Monday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Florida State. They look to regroup at the Sanford Pentagon, where they’re playing for the second year in a row. Last season, Minnesota fell 62-60 to Oklahoma State there. Vanderbilt is the U’s second SEC opponent; the Gophers defeated Arkansas 85-71 on Nov. 22. Former Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew is in his first year with Vanderbilt. The Commodores, predicted to finish sixth in the SEC preseason poll, have lost to Marquette, Bucknell and Butler.
Players to watch: Akeem Springs came off the bench to score eight of his 11 points in the second half of Monday’s 75-67 loss at Florida State. Springs, a senior graduate transfer, has scored in double figures four times in seven games. Vanderbilt 7-foot-1 senior Luke Kornett was selected to the All-SEC preseason team. Kornett, who averages 14 points, 5.7 rebounds and two blocks, was held to five points on 2-for-11 shooting in a loss to Butler.
Numbers: The Gophers rank second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (36.8) and three-point shooting defense (28.2).