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Minnesota Golden Gophers Game Preview/Open Thread

How to Watch, What to look out for, Game prediction, and More

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Minnesota Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Essentials

Date: Wednesday, 11/21/18

Tip-Off Time: 3:30 pm PT

TV: Big 10 Network


The odds are you don’t get this in your cable package and don’t have a friend with the login information to even get you to stream it. See the comments section for some tips. A reminder that it is against community guidelines to directly put illegal streaming site links in the comments so be smart about it please.

Radio: KOMO 1000 AM/97.7 FM and TuneIn

Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Betting Line: Washington -1

Minnesota 2018-19 Statistics:

Record: 4-0

Points For per Game: 82.8 (44th)

Points Against per Game: 68.8 (110th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 109.4 (45th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 96.4 (59th)

Minnesota Key Players:

F- Daniel Oturu, Fr. 6’10, 225: 10.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 64.0% FG, 53.3% FT

Oturu was the crown jewel of Minnesota’s recruiting class as they got the 4 star big man to stay home and so far he’s producing. His offensive rebound and block percentage are both in the top-80 nationally and he’ll provide a very tough challenge inside.

F- Jordan Murphy, Sr. 6’7, 250: 13.0 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 4.5 apg, 50.0% FG, 25.0% 3pt, 61.3% FT

Murphy has been tremendous so far this year and is 2nd in the country in defensive rebound percentage. With his passing skills and ability to power through contact he seems like a nightmare for the Washington defense if Minnesota puts him in the middle of the zone.

F- Amir Coffey, Jr. 6’8, 210: 13.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.8 apg, 40.0% FG, 28.6% 3pt, 70.0% FT

The bane of the UW zone has been a 6’7 or 6’8 player with good passing skills and the ability to knock down a 15-footer. Well Minnesota happens to play 2 of those guys which is extremely unfortunate as this team looks a lot like Utah the last few years with David Collette carving teams up with his big to big passing.

G- Dupree McBrayer, Sr. 6’5, 195: 13.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.8 apg, 38.5% FG, 36.4% 3pt, 75.0% FT

McBrayer is a good shooter and was 5-6 from downtown in the season opener but has gone just 3 of 16 since. The Huskies have to hope his cold shooting in Vancouver continues.

G- Gabe Kalscheur, Fr. 6’4, 200: 15.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 53.8% FG, 59.3% 3pt, 50.0% FT

Kalscheur has come in as a true freshman and been an absolute marksman for the Golden Golphers. He’s their best outside shooter and the Huskies will need to make sure he’s accounted for on the perimeter at all times.

2018-19 Minnesota Shot Chart

The Minnesota offense ranks in the 74th percentile per Synergy Sports and it’s easy to see why from the chart below. There’s a lot of red on this chart and they’ve been particularly deadly at the rim as well as from the left side of the court beyond the arc.

Synergy Sports

The Outlook

This game is going to be a challenge for the Huskies as the game will tip off less than 17 hours after their comeback against Texas A&M ended. Minnesota only got an extra 3 hours of rest but the difference between getting back to the hotel in time for a full night’s sleep and not getting back there until after midnight could have its lingering effects. As if the Huskies needed more reasons to get off to slow starts...

It will also be a challenge because Minnesota is just a good team. The balance on offense is evident with all 5 starters averaging between 10 and 14 points per game. They’ve also got fantastic size as all 5 starters and 9 of their 10 rotation players are 6’4 or taller. That includes a front line that goes 6’7, 6’8, and 6’10. That size has allowed them to dominate on the glass early in the year as the Gophers rank in the top-35 nationally in both offensive rebound percentage and free throw rate. Noah Dickerson and Hameir Wright are going to absolutely have their hands full in this one.

Despite being a bigger team, Minnesota can also stroke it from outside. They’re shooting 40% on the season although much of that is true freshman Gabe Kalscheur who is a scorching 16 of 27 (59.3%) from outside so far and backup shooting guard Brock Stull who is 4 of 5 (80%). The rest of the team is just 13 of 49 (27%) from deep. If Matisse Thybulle and Naz Carter in the front of the zone can keep the SG duo from getting clean looks then Washington has a chance to limit Minnesota from deep.

The problem is that the Golden Gophers have two of the type of player that gives Washington’s zones fits. Both Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy average 4+ assists at 6’7 or taller and I expect one of them to live in the high post feeding the ball to the other or Daniel Oturu on the baseline all game. It’ll be a big challenge for Washington to deny players with that kind of height from getting the ball and keep tabs on Kalscheur. This team reminds me a lot of past Utah teams that have destroyed Washington. But they are also quite turnover prone so the Huskies’ best chance is to wrack up the steals and score repeatedly in transition.

I thought that Texas A&M last night was a good matchup and I stand by that despite Washington’s struggles. The Huskies aren’t going to miss 10+ shots at point blank range like they did against the Aggies on most nights. However, I think Minnesota is a terrible matchup. They aren’t quite built in a lab to beat the 2-3 zone but it’s pretty close. If the Huskies win this game it will be because they finally get their 3-point shooting back on track and Noah Dickerson is able to get at least 2 of the Murphy/Coffey/Oturu trio in significant foul trouble to keep them off the court.


Washington Huskies- 63, Minnesota Golden Gophers- 71


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