While this game will not give either team an automatic ticket to the dance, a win for either squad would go a long way towards boosting their resume. Both teams enter with the same 6-7 Big Ten record, and both teams could see their fortunes change from a potential 4th place in the Big Ten to a 9th place in the standings.
For both teams it will be about controlling the glass and playing consistent basketball for 40 minutes. Minnesota has shown glimmers of a Big Ten title contender only to follow it up with lapses in smart play. Penn State on the other hand has struggled to find consistant scoring, especially while Jeff Brooks was out due to a shoulder injury. While Brooks should be fully healthy tonight, Penn State will need to find scoring off of the bench to keep up with a Golden Gopher's team that plays in spurts.
When Minnesota has the ball they should look to take advantage of Penn State's poor primeter defense and lack of depth in size on the inside of the paint. If the Gophers can out rebound the Nittany Lions like Illinois did, it'll go a long way towards winning.
For Penn State it's about defense and balanced scoring. If the Nittany Lions can keep the likes of Blake Hoffbarber from getting hot it'll help them focus on picking up rebounds down the stretch. As long as Penn State is able to control the glass, or in the very least limit the Gopher's second chances they should have a good chance to pick up a big win.