Opponent Preview: Northwestern

Following a road victory over Michigan last Saturday, No. 18 Minnesota returns home to Williams Arena to face Northwestern. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be televised by the Big Ten Network.

No. 18 Minnesota (15-4, 4-3) vs. Northwestern (13-5, 3-5)
Minneapolis, Minn. – Williams Arena
5:00 p.m. CT – Big Ten Network (Gus Johnson, Shon Morris)

Quotable

"Try to figure it out between here and the locker room, because this is rough, especially at home. Like I said, it's just the competitiveness I didn't see. There were little sparks here and there, but for the most part it wasn't there." – Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody on how to move on from the loss to Wisconsin

"It's a very big game tomorrow. I mean we play Northwestern. They had a little tough one verse Wisconsin the last couple days ago. But they are great team that can shoot the three point shot. They got a great player in Shurna who is leading the Big Ten in scoring so we've got a tough task ahead of us but I think we can do it." – Blake Hoffarber on keeping the win streak going against Northwestern

PREGAME NOTES

Season to Date: Northwestern enters Wednesday's contest with a 13-5 (3-5 Big Ten). The Wildcats' top victory in nonconference play was a 91-71 decision against Georgia Tech. Northwestern has not faired well against ranked conference opponents, losing three consecutive weeks to No.12 Purdue (70-47), No. 18 Michigan State (65-62) and No.20 Illinois by a score of 88-63. They were also on the losing end of a crushing 78-46 loss to No. 18 Wisconsin last Sunday.

Coaching Preview: Bill Carmody is in his 11th season as the head coach at Northwestern where he has compiled a 153-168. A year ago he led the Wildcats to a school-record 20 wins and a berth in the National Invitation Tournament. The 15-year collegiate head coach was honored as the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the 2003-04 season.

Series History: Minnesota leads the all-time series with Northwestern, 89-58. The two teams split the season series last year with both teams winning on their home court. The Gophers are 53-18 against the Wildcats in Minneapolis.

Last Meeting: Northwestern defeated Minnesota in overtime, 77-74, on Feb. 14, 2010, in Evanston, Ill. John Shurna lead the Wildcats with 22 points on 6-for-13 shooting from 3-point range. Drew Crawford chipped in 18 points and nine rebounds. The two teams played to a 32-24, Golden Gopher lead at halftime before Northwestern outscored Minnesota 33-25 over the remaining 20 minutes to force overtime.

Stats to Watch: The Minnesota defense will need to keep track of junior forward John Shurna who is tied for third in the Big Ten Conference with a 19.2 scoring average. He also leads the conference in 3-point percentage at 54 percent.

Projected Starters:
C 12 Luka Mirkovic (6-11, 248, Jr.) - 9.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg
F 24 John Shurna (6-8, 215, Jr.) - 19.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg
F 23 JerShon Cobb (6-5, 180, Fr.) - 7.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg
G 22 Michael Thompson (5-10, 190, Sr.) - 13.9 ppg, 4.4 apg
G 01 Drew Crawford (6-5, 205, So.) - 12.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg

Background:
Location: Evanston, Ill.
Enrollment: 16,640
Conference: Big Ten
Mascot: Willie the Wildcat
Colors: Purple and White
Coach: Bill Carmody (11th season)


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