After Minnesota's 60-42 win over Nebraska on Saturday, the Gophers started a week off of games before next Saturday's rematch vs. Purdue.
Although Minnesota fell to the Boilermakers, 72-68, in the teams' first meeting this season -- on New Year's Eve -- the Gophers will have at least one thing going for them this time around: they're playing at home.
According to the offensive data, Minnesota has one of the best home-court advantages in the Big Ten.
Conversely, the Gophers have one of the most stark differentials between their shooting performances at home and their efforts on the road, something the team will try to combat again when it goes on a two-game road trip to Iowa and Indiana next week.
Minnesota ranks second in the league in shooting percentage from the field at home according to advanced statistic site BBstate.com, sinking 51.1 percent of its shots at Williams Arena -- second only to Ohio State's 55 percent shooting at Value City Arena. But on the road, it's been a different story. The Gophers are tenth in the Big Ten with a 39.7 percent road shooting percentage. And only the similarly hot-at-home Buckeyes have a bigger differential between home and road shooting 15.2 percentage points to the Gophers' 11.4 percentage points.
The biggest culprit? Freshman Nate Mason, who has mostly put together a very strong season this year. Still, the newcomer nerves don't seem completely absent -- the combo guard is shooting just 28 percent from the field on the road. But senior guards DeAndre Mathieu and Andre Hollins are next -- converting 30.2 and 38 percent of their shots on the road, respectively. Backup center Elliott Eliason has performed the best by far, knocking down 71.4 percent of his shots in 11.7 minutes a game on the road. Mo Walker is next up, hitting 48.3 percent.
"We've sat around and bounced around different ideas about why guys aren't playing well on the road," assistant coach Kimani Young said on Monday's teleconference. "But the reality is this league is a tough place to play anywhere on the road... For us, because we've kind of dug ourselves in an early hole, it kind of puts a little more pressure on those games, but we still feel like we have enough time left in the season to turn this thing around and surprise some people."