Indiana vs. Minnesota Gameday

Indiana looks to bring a season-high three-game losing streak to an end Sunday afternoon when it hosts Tubby Smith's Minnesota Golden Gophers at 4:30 p.m. at Assembly Hall. Hoosier Nation previews the game, complete with match-ups, statistics, keys to the game, and quotes from both players and coaches about the contest…

Game Particulars: Indiana (7-9/1-3) vs. Minnesota (12-5/3-2)
When Indiana and Minnesota square off at Assembly Hall Saturday at 4:30 p.m., the Gophers will be looking to do something they haven't done in 40 years – win four straight against the Hoosiers. The run started in the Big Ten Tournament in 2008, when Blake Hoffarber connected on an improbable buzzer-beater to beat Indiana 59-58 at Conseco Fieldhouse. The streak was extended to three games last year thanks to a 67-63 win in Bloomington and a 62-54 win in Minneapolis. A Gopher win would be their fourth straight, a feat last accomplished from 1968-70.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 203-130 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Minnesota, meanwhile, is coached by Tubby Smith, who is in his third season at Michigan and in his 19th year as a head coach overall. Smith owns a 54-30 mark at Minnesota, and a 441-175 record overall.

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Gus Johnson (play-by-play) and Greg Kelser (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2009-10 Schedule

Minnesota 2009-10 Schedule

Indiana (7-9/1-3)
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – 6.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.3 apg, 40% FG shooting
SG- Jordan Hulls (6-0, 172, Fr.) – 5.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 36.0% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 12.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.2 apg, 20.0% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 12.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 42.1% FG shooting
PF – Bobby Capobianco (6-9, 238, Fr.) – 1.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 9.7 mpg, 40% FG shooting

Derek Elston (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 5.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.9 spg, 48.7% FG shooting
Devan Dumes (6-2, 192, Sr.) – 5.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 apg, 32.7% 3 pt. shooting
Tom Pritchard (6-9, 248, So.) – 4.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 20.1 mpg, 63.5% FG shooting

Minnesota (12-5/3-2)
PG – Al Nolen (6-1, 188, Jr.) – 6.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg, 40.7% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Lawrence Westbrook (6-0, 193, Sr.) – 13.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 431.3% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Blake Hoffarber (6-4, 210, Jr.) – 11.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.6 apg, 50.5% 3 pt. shooting
WF – Damian Johnson (6-7, 205, Sr.) – 10.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.4 apg, 52.6% FG shooting
PF- Ralph Sampson III (6-11, 241, So.) - 7.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 52.9% FG shooting

Devoe Joseph (6-3, 179, So.) – 7.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.4 apg, 31.7% 3 pt. shooting
Paul Carter (6-8, 203, Jr.) – 6.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 14.7 mpg, 50% FG shooting
Rodney Williams (6-7, 200, Fr.) – 5.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.9 bpg, 13.7 mpg, 25% 3 pt. shooting
Colton Iverson (6-10, 258, So.) ¬– 4.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 18.0 mpg, 41.4% FG shooting

Indiana 2009-10 Statistics

Minnesota 2009-10 Statistics

What changes – if any – can Tom Crean make to Indiana's frontline rotation? – The Hoosier coach has been clearly frustrated with the play of his frontline since Big Ten play opened. Christian Watford has been solid with 14.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in conference action, but Crean would like to see that rebounding number improve. Before an eight-rebound performance Thursday at Michigan, Watford had totaled only 10 rebounds in the first three conference games. Outside of Watford, Indiana has gotten little to nothing from the rest of the frontcourt players. Tom Pritchard (2.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg) is coming off a zero-rebound performance in 21 minutes at Michigan. Derek Elston (2.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 10.5 mpg) and recent starter Bobby Capobianco (0.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 11.8 mpg) haven't done much more. There might not be any changes to make considering the struggles of all of the frontliners, but Crean might try to re-distribute the minutes in an effort to get better production up front.

Will depth become an issue in the second half? -Thanks to the early-season injury to Matt Roth and the December injury suffered by Maurice Creek, Indiana's bench has gotten noticeably shorter. Since conference play opened, Indiana has three players averaging at least 32 minutes/game (Rivers, Hulls, Jones) and a fourth at 29.5 minutes/game in Watford. Minnesota, meanwhile, has no one averaging more than 28.0 minutes in conference games and goes anywhere from 10 to 11 deep. Rotating players usually allows Minnesota to stay out of foul trouble despite playing its aggressive man-to-man style of defense that relies on heavy ball pressure. Over the course of a game that can take a toll on the primary ball handlers. On top of that, Indiana doesn't have many options to turn to if a player gets in significant foul trouble. Jeremiah Rivers and Tom Pritchard have been a pair of players that have landed in foul trouble in games recently, and that puts even more strain on an IU team that is lacking in depth.

Can Indiana get some easy opportunities against Minnesota's pressure? - It goes without saying that the Hoosiers can't afford to turn the ball over 18-20 times today if it hopes to knock off the Gophers. In the three Big Ten games Indiana has lost it is averaging 19.3 turnovers game, which in turn has resulted in a 66-21 disparity in points off turnovers. The Hoosiers can't afford that type of statistic again against a Minnesota team that will pressure the ball relentlessly in the halfcourt and will apply fullcourt pressure at times as well. But in addition to that, Indiana needs to be able to – on occasion – get some easy scoring opportunities by attacking that pressure. Minnesota likes to overplay and deny, which can create opportunities for some easy baskets as well. Indiana needs to get a handful of those while also figuring out a way to keep its turnovers to 15 or less.

"They're big and physical and they like to get up on the ball. We have to attack that and see what opens up for us if they come double team." – Jordan Hulls

"Their pressure is especially good. They'll pick you up, sometimes they'll press you fullcourt and then drop back. Even their halfcourt pressure is really good. We have to move the ball and keep them moving and rotating and hopefully we'll get some open shots." – Hulls

"(Crean) has been real encouraging about me shooting the ball. It's something I know I can do well and something he knows too. It's something where I haven't found out when I feel comfortable taking those shots yet…it's going to pick up and I'll end up shooting the ball. But I need to get into the flow of my game." – Bobby Capobianco

"A lot of times with a team that likes to block shots, if you get the ball in the post everyone will collapse, and if you kick the ball out that will lead to a wide open 3 or a swing and another drive to the basket. A lot of times you come in to play outside. It's something we'll have to be conscious of." – Capobianco

"Minnesota is one of the best defensive teams in the league…they have a great combination of energy, toughness, athleticism and they certainly have skill. We're going to have to play a very good game." – Tom Crean

"We'll have to be very good at taking care of the basketball, we have to be very good on the backboards, and our athleticism will get challenged tomorrow because of the energy and toughness they play with." – Crean

"Their pressure is scary. They have a lot of different ways to force turnovers." – Crean Top Stories