#3 Purdue (17-1, 6-1 Big 10) vs. Minnesota (7-9, 1-5 Big 10)
January 19th, 7:00 p.m. EST
Williams Arena, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minnesota Starting 5
|Point Guard||55||Ta'Lon Cooper||Jr||6'4"||195||Roebuck, SC||Morehead State|
|Wing||10||Jamison Battle||Jr||6'4"||225||Robbinsdale, MN||George Washington|
|Wing||24||Jaden Henley||Fr||6'7"||200||Ontario, CA|
|Forward||42||Treyton Thompson||So||7'0"||210||Glenwood, MN|
|Center||3||Dawson Garcia||So||6'11"||230||Savage, MN||Marquette/UNC|
|Center/Forward||21||Pharrel Payne||Fr||6'9"||230||Cottage Grove, MN|
|Point Guard/Wing||4||Braeden Carrington||Fr||6'4"||190||Brooklyn Park, MN|
|Forward||1||Joshua Ola-Joseph||Fr||6'7||215||Brooklyn Park, MN|
|Point Guard||0||Taurus Samuels||Sr||6'1"||190||Oceanside, CA||Dartmouth|
Minnesota on Offense
To be polite, the Golden Gophers have had a less-than-ideal season with their hands on the ball. They’re ranked 217th nationally with an effective field goal percentage of 49.3. They’re right around the middle nationally in terms of turning the ball over.
Purdue’s defense is more reliant on close, clean defending and forcing bad shots rather than poking the ball away, but guards and forwards like Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, Ethan Morton, Brandon Newman, and Devid Jenkins have proven that they can be aggressive at the top of the key in crunch time...but I doubt they’ll need to be.
Against bigger teams like Purdue’s they set up with four around the arc with Treyton Thompson or Dawson Garcia around the stripe. Thompson is more of a bully-you-down-low type C/F whereas Garcia is more of a finesse C/F who plays like if Edey were five inches shorter (goodness that’s still so tall). They rely on big games from Thompson down low, but even for a guy who’s seven feet tall, posting up against Edey is a tall order. Sorry about that one.
They move the ball decently well, but one thing I’ve noticed in tape is that they’re consistently one extra pass shy of creating an exceptionally open shot, settling for a “high percentage” mid-range shot (if such a thing exists). The Boilermakers don’t give up many of those and close out shots well. If Minnesota can’t be patient enough to wait for high-percentage shots, they’ll be down and out early on. If I’m Ben Johnson’s team, I’m running down the shot clock on most plays with off the ball movement around the top right side of the key with right-handed dribblers. The question is if they can hit those shots.
Minnesota on Defense
The first thing that cannot be ignored: the last time these two met for Purdue’s conference opener in December.......Zach Edey dropped 31 and 22. The frontrunner for player of the year is coming off a game in which he put up 32 and 17, good for half of the Boilers’ points in a one-point victory at Michigan State. I don’t see him taking taking any steps back in this meeting with Minnesota, and the man is looking like he’s feeling his game better than ever.
Aside from the always necessary and very much rhetorical “who can match up with Edey?” question, here’s a quick little profile on their defense:
For teams that switch well off the ball, cough cough like Purdue cough cough, Minnesota does tend to lose a guy off the ball, often for a corner three. They have shown they can look lost at times when a team does anything that isn’t an iso. I don’t need to tell you that Purdue hits open shots well. Their offense runs through three channels with which Minnesota has a hard time dealing:
- Crowding the lane with a big center who knows when to sidestep so the point guard can drive to the lane a half-step ahead of longer/bigger defenders
- Drawing double teams down low to find an open shooter
- Moving the ball around to expose a perimeter guard lost in trasition
X-Factor - Please Avoid Turnovers And All Will Be Fine, Boilers
We’ve already failed to see them do it once, but I don’t see too many ways Minny can outscore this year’s edition of the Boilermakers without involving a self-inflicted derailment from Matt Painter and company.
Purdue is one of the best teams in the country in terms of avoiding turnovers in one of the toughest conferences in the college hoops. If Minnesota wants any chance at stealing a win over a well-oiled machine like Purdue, the home team is gonna have to steal some possessions.
This Minnesota team is not going to out-rebound Purdue, they’re not going to out-block Purdue, so really if the Boilers can just avoid the rare careless turnover, Purdue should once again out-ratio (is that a term?) their opponents in terms of possessions. That proved to be important in the most recent outing.
Purdue - 73
Minnesota - 59
Confidence - 89%
Purdue - 76
Minnesota - 62
We saw how this went once, and it will go that way again. The Gohers don’t have anything for the Boilermakers if they show up, and they’ll show up.