At a Glance: Minnesota

A closer look at Illinois' next opponent - the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Illinois (14-12, 3-10) at Minnesota (17-9, 6-7)
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 8 p.m. - Minneapolis, Minn. - Williams Arena (14,625)
Big Ten Network - Steve Physioc, Shon Morris

Notes (per Minnesota sports info):

• Minnesota squares off against Illinois for the first and only time this season on Wednesday night at the Barn.

• The Gophers are 6-7 in Big Ten action, with a 4-2 mark at home in conference play.

• Minnesota stopped a five-game winless streak at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Prior to Sunday, the Gophers' last win in Evanston came on Feb. 6, 2008, a 92-72 win over the Wildcats.

• The Gophers went 1-2 against the Illini last season, defeating them in Champaign before a home loss and a first-round Big Ten Tournament defeat by Illinois in Chicago.

• Minnesota leads the league in steals per game (7.8), is second in free throw percentage (.742), and ranks fourth in three-pointers made per game (7.2) and assists (14.0).

• With his career night of 18 points and nine rebounds against Wisconsin, junior forward Maurice Walker became the sixth different Gopher to lead the team in scoring during a game this season. He had been averaging 4.9 points and 3.2 rebounds per game this season prior to the Jan. 22 win over the Badgers. Walker is the team's leading rebounder (5.7 rpg) over the last seven games, along with a team-high 17 points versus the Boilermakers on Feb. 5.

Deandre Mathieu made the game-winning layup on Feb. 8 against Indiana and over the last seven games, is the team's leading scorer (13.9 ppg). Mathieu poured in a team-high 18 points (13 in second half) in the win at Northwestern.

• Two of the Gophers' transfers, guards DeAndre Mathieu and Malik Smith, have played integral roles in the team's success this season. Behind top scorer Andre Hollins, Mathieu and Smith are second and third on the team in scoring in B1G games, averaging 12.3 and 9.8 points per game, respectively. Mathieu leads the Gophers in assists (112) and 3-point shooting (48.1 percent).

Probable starters:
Andre Hollins: G, 6-2, 195, Jr. - 14.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg
DeAndre Mathieu: G, 5-9, 165, 165 - 11.9 ppg, 4.3 apg
Austin Hollins: G, 6-4, 190, Sr. - 11.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Joey King: F, 6-9, 225, So. - 6.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Elliott Eliason: C, 6-11, 240, R-Jr. - 5.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg

Off the bench:
Malik Smith: G, 6-2, 200, Sr. - 9.8 ppg, 1.1 apg
Maurice Walker: F, 6-10, 250, R-Jr. - 7.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Oto Osenieks: F, 6-8, 220, R-Jr. - 6.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg

Series history:

Series Record: Illinois leads 118-64
Series Streak: Illinois W-2
Record at Minneapolis: Minnesota leads 45-43
Series Streak at Minneapolis: Illinois W-1
Last Year's Meetings:
#8/10 Minnesota 84, #12/13 Illinois 67 (1/9/13 at Champaign)
Illinois 57, #18/18 Minnesota 53 (2/10/13 at Minneapolis)
Illinois 51, Minnesota 49 (3/14/13 at Chicago)
Groce vs. Minnesota: 2-1

Fun fact:

Lionel Hollins, father of senior guard Austin Hollins, was a member of the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers' championship team.

Notable quotable:

"All in all practice was pretty chippy (Monday). I thought guys practiced hard (Monday). We're just going to continue to work and improve. At some point our offense has got to, not necessarily catch up with our defnese, but we've got to make a few more plays. We need some guys to make a few more plays."

Minnesota team info:
Roster
Coaches
Schedule


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