Breaking down the Buckeyes: Ohio State lost the first matchup with the Golden Gophers, falling 63-53 in Minneapolis on Jan. 19. ... Thad Matta thinks the Buckeyes have been more confident on offense while winning five of their last six. "I think that we have more of a sense of confidence in terms of what we're trying to do offensively now. (The Gophers) turn people over, that's what they do. But some of the turnovers we had in that game were very uncharacteristic of who we are as a basketball team. I think we probably are a little bit more sound and sure of what we're trying to do at this stage." ... There are two weeks left in the regular season, but this the next-to-last home game for seniors Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. Next are two road games at Penn State and Indiana before the home finale against Michigan State on March 9. ... Sam Thompson had 11 points in Wednesday's win over Northwestern, his first double-figure scoring game in nine outings. Breaking down the Golden Gophers: Minnesota is squarely on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament after a home loss to last-place Illinois on Wednesday. Coach Richard Pitino told reporters in Minnesota that he has no interest in that game film, 'If I could burn it I would have." ... The Gophers have lost five of seven, and despite home wins over Ohio State and Wisconsin, they may need another solid win to get in the NCAA field. They have three straight chances at that, with this game, a home game against Iowa and a trip to Michigan. ... If the Gophers lose all three, and beat Penn State to finish the regular season at 7-11, they'd need a good run in the Big Ten Tournament to get a bid. ... Point guard DeAndre Mathieu had his worst game of the Big Ten season against Illinois, scoring just three points. He had 13 in the first meeting against the Buckeyes. ... Guard Andre Hollins is 10th in the Big Ten, averaging 14.9 points per game.
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ohio State Buckeyes preview breakdown
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Feb 22