Minnesota got its second conference win in a big upset of No. 8 Purdue at home on Thursday, and the Golden Gophers will look to keep their new found momentum going when they host Iowa at 6:00 Sunday evening on the Big Ten Network.
In danger of falling to 1-4 in conference play, the Gophers had one of their best performances of the season against the Boilermakers. Blake Hoffarber had a big night, scoring 26 points and Al Nolen contributed as well with 13 points and 8 assists off the bench. Trevor Mbakwe came off the bench with seven points.
The Hawkeyes have yet to pick up a win in Big Ten play and have lost their first four games of the conference season, the most recent loss coming at home to Northwestern on Wednesday night. In that game, Iowa was outscored 48-27 and the duo of Matt Gatens and Bryce Cartwright did almost all the scoring with 45 combined points.
Keys to the game after the jump.
When Iowa Has The Ball
- The Hawkeyes must get other scorers involved to have a chance to pull the upset. Getting a bunch of scoring from Gatens and Cartwright is great, but when the rest of the team isn't contributing, that's still bad news for Iowa. The team has to get guys like Melsahn Basabe involved consistently.
- Iowa is a decent rebounding team, so Minnesota should work extra hard to get to the offensive glass. If you can take away second chance points from the Hawkeyes, you can disrupt an already pretty anemic offense even more and make life easier on yourself.
When Minnesota Has The Ball
- Big Ten teams have had success against Minnesota when they contain Al Nolen and keep him from getting too involved. Hoffarber will make his shots and the Minnesota bigs will get their opportunities inside, but disrupting things at the top with Nolen could go a long way to shutting down the Gopher attack for Iowa.
- Look for Minnesota to try and get Mbakwe back in the swing of things after forcing him to sit to start the Purdue game after his incident last week.
As in most games, Iowa is definitely the underdog in this one, but unlike some of the other teams the Hawkeyes have played, the Gophers have proven very vulnerable in Big Ten competition. Pulling an upset at Williams arena will be difficult, but if Iowa plays to its potential, it can have success.