On Saturday, the 8th ranked Minnesota Gophers head to Bloomington to take on the 5th ranked Indiana Hoosiers. This will be the first time this season that two Big Ten teams in the top ten will play each other. Both teams only have one loss this season and are undefeated in the Big Ten so far. They will look to continue their winning streaks and remain undefeated in the Big Ten.
Minnesota is coming off of big wins at home against Michigan State and Northwestern as well as a huge win away against Illinois. They have proven to be for real this season. This is a very healthy, smart basketball team that has experience in all positions on the court. There are a few things that Minnesota will need to do to remain successful in this game. First, they need their guards to play well because this is Minnesota’s advantage in the game. The Gophers have two experienced guards in Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins. Andre Hollins is having a great year, especially in Big Ten play. He had a 22-point night against both Michigan State and Illinois. He plays the game at a very quick pace and has great pressure defense. He needs to outplay both Jordan Hulls and Kevin Ferrell, which he is completely capable of doing.
Secondly, they will need to contain Cody Zeller and not let him dominate inside. With his seven-foot stature, he is a lot taller than the starters for Minnesota. This will not be an easy task as Cody Zeller has been dominating all season. However, they did an extraordinary job containing Michigan State’s big men who also a lot big than the Gophers.
Finally, the Gophers need to play smart basketball. Clearly every team that expects to win intends to play smart but they will not be given any breaks by the Hoosiers. Indiana is a very experienced basketball teams that is very good at taking advantage of mistakes. They are also good at forcing turnovers.
Indiana on the other hand, hasn’t really had a big game yet in the Big Ten. They squeaked past Iowa and defeated Penn State; both teams are unranked and are tied for last in the Big Ten. However, Indiana has not played a home Big Ten game this season. It is a huge advantage this season because the teams are all so close in skill. It is especially an advantage for the Hoosiers as they are 10-0 this season at home.
In order for Indiana to be successful, they need to be able to score inside. While Minnesota has to stop Cody Zeller, Indiana needs to get Cody Zeller involved. However, its not just Cody Zeller that needs to get involved. The player that needs to have a big night the most is Victor Oladipo. He is Indiana’s second leading scorer and averages 13 points per game. He plays with great energy and is great at attacking the rim. Defensively, he applies great ball pressure and will need to create turnovers, which will hopefully lead to fast break points.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers will upset Indiana in Bloomington and end their home game win streak. This will be the game that shows off Minnesota’s talent. They have the ability to beat any team in the Big Ten this year. They are entering this game with two solid Big Ten wins so they appear to have all the momentum. The Gophers win a close one. They are the real deal.