Mbakwe is averaging 12.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game while Sampson has netted 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per contest. With the lack of Devoe Joseph and the early shooting struggles for Blake Hoffarber, the bigs will need to continue to play well if they want to come away with a victory against Western Kentucky.
Western Kentucky also enters the game with a record of two wins and no losses. This good start can be attributed to the play of three senior forwards, Sergio Kerusch, Juan Pattillo, and Steffphon Pettigrew. All three players are 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6 and are averaging at least 18.0 points in their first two games, with Kerusch leading the way with 20.0 points per game.
This size and scoring ability could prove to be a deadly combination against the Gophers. Look for these players to have big games tonight and for the Gophers to make adjustments midgame to try and stop this trio.
The game should be a high scoring affair but the Minnesota big men should quell the Western Kentucky attack enough for the Gophers to come away with a victory. Expect a final score of 82-77 with the Gophers advancing on to the winner's bracket.