Tip Off: 9:00 P.M.
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Wednesday night the Wolverines travel to Minneapolis, to take on the Golden Gophers. Wolverines are coming into Wednesday’s game after two straight losses to Indiana and MSU. Beilein and Co. are looking to get back on track to improve to 18-7, while the Golden Gophers have not really been able to get much of anything going this year. The Gophers are 6-17 heading into tonight’s game, with hopes of getting their first conference win this year.
Here are the 5 keys to Wednesday’s game
1.) Keep Nate Mason In Check
For those who do not know who Nate Mason is, he is a guard for the Golden Gophers. Mason is the Golden Gopher’s go to player, leading the team in points, points per game, assists per game and assists. Mason was also a large part of the almost upset that Michigan narrowly escaped earlier in the year. During that 74-69 W for the Wolverines, Mason had 25 points and 5 assists. Shutting Mason down will help stop the Golden Gopher’s attack.
2.) Get Duncan Robinson Back On Track
The past three games for Duncan Robinson have been a struggle from beyond the arch. Robinson is only shooting 2-13 in that span of time. He is a vital part of the Michigan attack. Beilein likes to spread the floor and shoot from the perimeter, with Robinson’s presence lacking, it becomes tougher on the Wolverines offense to spread the ball out. With Minnestoa being ranked 239 by the NCAA in scoring defense, this hopes to be a good game to get him on track.
3.) Let’s Play Some Defense
The past three games have not been kind to the Wolverines. Defense has given up an average of almost 83 points in that stretch. Giving up 83 points a game in the B1G is not going to win anyone many games. Minnesota does not have an over powering offense, so this could be a good game to get the defense some much needed confidence.
4.) Attack Out of The Gate
Yes there is a theme here, the past three games the Wolverines have looked sluggish off the tip. Michigan needs to attack with energy all game to get that rhythm back, even if it means that some of the sluggish players need to start seeing some minutes decreased. Michigan needs to bring some Harbaughesque intensity to their game to make a push to the NCAA Tournament.
5.) GET PRESENCE IN THE PAINT
This is in all caps because it has been a struggle for the Wolverines all year. As it stands, Michigan’s leading rebounder is…wait for it…Derrick Walton Jr. Yes, Derrick Walton is Michigan’s leading rebounder, now this is not a knock on Walton. Walton has been great this year and has greatly helped the Wolverines in so many facets of the game but the point guard cannot play down in the paint too. Michigan needs guys like Donnal and Doyle to step up down the stretch, especially heading into the B1G tournament and Match Madness.
Prediction: Michigan 75 – Minnesota 63
Photo Credit: USA Today/Sports Illustrated
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