NIT Preview: #1 Minnesota vs. #3 Southern Miss - Gophers The Big Ten's Only NIT Hope

We gonna dominate the NIT.

Minnesota prepares to tip-off against Southern Miss on Tuesday night.

What:

Minnesota Team Southern Miss
Big Ten Conference C-USA
8-10 Conference Record 13-3
22-13 Overall Record 29-6
#1 NIT Seed #3
50 RPI 32
57 KenPom 54

When: Tuesday March 25th at 9:00PM ET - ESPN

Where: Williams Arena, Minneapolis, MN

Why: Minnesota is the Big Ten's last team in the NIT.

The Skinny: The Minnesota Golden Gophers picked up a big win on Sunday over Saint Mary's to move on to the 3rd Round of the NIT.  The Gophers certainly wish they would have been picked on Selection Sunday, but a big run in the NIT could certainly help to make up for some of that.  Minnesota has picked up 2 wins so far and are just 1 win away from a trip to the Big Apple in the NIT semi-finals (sorry, you don't get to call it the Final Four).  Regardless of your take on the NIT, winning the title still deserves some respect.  Minnesota hopes to get there with a win at home against Southern Miss.

Let's take a look at the projected starting lineups:

Minnesota Position So. Miss.
Elliot Eliason C Daveon Boardingham
Joey King F Aaron Brown
Austin Hollins G Neil Watson
Andre Hollins G Jerrold Brooks
Deandre Mathieu G Matt Bingaya

Key Players:

Austin Hollins: Hollins has played pretty well down the stretch and is averaging 11.2 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game.  He scored 10 against Saint Mary's.

Deandre Mathieu: A bright suprise for the Gophers this year has been Mathieu, who has averaged 12.0 points per game and 4.2 assists per game.  He scored 14 against Saint Mary's.

Neil Watson: Watson is an experienced senior that averages 10.7 points per game and 3.9 assists per game.  He scored 18 against Missouri in his last game.

Aaron Brown: Brown has been a solid player for So. Miss. so far this season, averaging 10.0 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Prediction: This is going to be an interesting matchup as both teams are pretty even on paper and both are coming off big wins  Souther Miss has proven they can win on the road with that win over Missouri and Minnesota has shown they can be resilient in that win over Saint Mary's last week.  The pressure is on once again, but the home court advantage might prove too much in this one.  Final: Minnesota by 6

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