NCAA Preview: Minnesota Golden GophersPosted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009
Minnesota (#10, East, Greensboro pod)
vs. Texas (#7)
Thur. 3/19 at 7:10 pm
Vegas Line: +4
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Conference: Big Ten, at large
Coach: Orlando “Tubby” Smith, hired 2007. Record at Minnesota = 42-24.
08-09 Record: 22-10 (9-9)
Last 12 Games: 5-7
Best Win: vs Louisville, 70-64, 12/20/08
Worst Loss: at Northwestern, 65-74, on 1/18/09.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 106.5 (88th)
Def. Efficiency Rating: 90.6 (20th)
Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s): Lawrence Westbrook (6’0″ junior guard), 12.4 ppg.
Unsung Hero: Ralph Sampson III (6’11” freshman center), leads team with 4.4 rpg and second in blocks at 1.5/game.
Potential NBA Draft Pick: Sampson has some teams interested.
Key Injuries: No significant injuries.
Depth: 40.7% mins. (13th nationally)
Achilles Heel: Guarding the three. Opponents shoot 32.7%, 236th in the nation in that category.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: …their defense can frustrate. They’re 20th nationally in Defensive Efficiency and 4th nationally in blocks.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: …their interior defense breaks down. Despite being poor in defensing the three, they’re in the top 30 as far as guarding shots inside the arc.
Last Year Invited: 2005
Streak: One year.
Best NCAA Finish: 1997 Final Four.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): n/a
Distance to First Round Site: 1143 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: A notable alumni list too long to list, but it includes 18 Nobel prize winners. Bob Dylan went here but dropped out.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Yanni is an alumnus.
Prediction: Minnesota doesn’t wow you with statistics but with Smith at the helm you know at the very least they’ll give Texas a ballgame, and maybe win it outright. Minnesota will be a popular 1st round upset pick, but they have to find a way to corral Pittman. If they can…who knows, after that.
Major RTC stories: Big 10 Wrapup and Tourney Preview
Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.