It is time for another Q&A as Chris of The Daily Gopher provides us with some background on the Golden Gophers.
T-Mill: Hollins brothers vs. Johnson brothers. Since they both play a similar style are we all going to be thoroughly confused on Sunday?
Chris: I think so. I'm most concerned that we'll be treated to a whole game of comments about how no one is related to anyone else. Or worse, that one of the announcers will say one of the pairs are brothers. That still happens to Hollins² and it boggles my mind.
T-Mill: What should we think of Minnesota? Did they overperform in the non-conference or are they a legit NCAA contender?
Chris: I wouldn't say the Gophers overperformed. If anything, there were several nights where you could argue they underperformed. On the whole I'd say their non-conference schedule simply wasn't especially taxing and they came out of it about where I would have expected. Well, except for the Arkansas loss in the Maui Invitational. I was expecting them to perform better in that one. I'll blame the hangover from almost beating Syracuse the game before.
T-Mill: I feel like both teams need this game, but does Minensota need it more having already dropped a game at home against a depleted Michigan team?
Chris: I'd say Minnesota needs it more. The Michigan loss put the Gophers in a tough spot, as they'll now need to pull a decent sized upset at some point later in the season in order to get to a NCAA tourney worthy (or perhaps even bubble worthy) record. Losing to Purdue will put them in a pretty deep early hole, as I expect it would result in them losing 6 of their first 7 games in the B1G (this assumes a win at Penn State next week).
T-Mill: over/under on number of Hummel injury replays we get?
Chris: I'll go with 2, with an expectation that it grows significantly if any other Purdue player leaves with anything resembling a knee injury.
T-Mill: Does Hammons' performance against OSU give you concern with him matched up with Eliason?
Chris: On a straight "can Eliason hang with Hammons" level? A little. Eliason has shown a good ability this year to defend more dominant and athletic post players, so I think he could do a pretty good job even if AJ is having a good night. On a "will Hammons get Elliott in foul trouble to the point where he doesn't play enough to be effective" level? Consider me very worried. EE has shown a penchant for picking up bad/quick/cheap fouls and if Hammons is in beast mode I'd expect Eliason to head for the bench pretty quickly. And once that happens I think AJ would be able to work pretty freely inside, as no other Gopher on the floor will match up with him as well as EE will.
T-Mill: A prediction?
Chris: If the Hollins² play like they did against Michigan and Minnesota isn't able to make that production up via Malik Smith or Deandre Mathieu, then Purdue should win. Specific player performances aside, if Minnesota gets Purdue to turn the ball over while taking care of it themselves then I'd expect the Gophers to win. The Florida State win proved that even when they are being outshot and outrebounded, the Gophers can win games when they protect the rock and force TO's. I say at least one of the Hollins duo atones for Thursday night and the Gophers pressure Purdue into enough timely TO's to pull out a close win that looks a little bigger due to late free throws.