Minnesota Golden Gophers
Good wins: Butler (neutral), vs. Ohio State
Bad losses: Portland (neutral), at Miami (Fla.), at Indiana, vs. Michigan
Guard play: The backcourt for the Gophers poses matchup problems for any team in the country. Lawrence Westbrook leads the Gophers in scoring, averaging 13 points and two assists per game. Blake Hoffarber, the Gopher’s starting shooting guard, ranks second on the team in scoring with 11.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. The duo helps leads the Gophers with 17.3 assists per game, second in the Big Ten.
Offensive power: The Gophers put up good offensive numbers. They average 74.6 points, second in the Big Ten. They also shoot 47.4 percent from the field and 39 percent from the three-point line.
Turnovers and free-throw shooting: These are two areas that are sure to doom a team in close games. Westbrook needs to improve his ball-handling; averages 2.3 turnovers. The Gophers also shoot just 68.1 percent from the free throw line, 10th in the Big Ten.
RPI and quality wins: Two areas that aren’t in Minnesota’s favor. Their RPI, 61, needs to improve for the Gophers to get into the NCAA Tournament, as does their number of quality wins; they do not have a good road win this year.
Prediction: NIT. Despite having almost their whole team back from last year, when they made the NCAA Tournament, the Gophers have been a huge disappointment this season. They have showed no signs that they are a tournament team this season. A loss at home to Michigan may have been the low point of the season for Gophers.