Opponent Preview: Michigan

Both the Gophers and Wolverines enter Saturday's game hungry for a win and a shot at the NCAA tourney. With so much at stake expect to see some fireworks at Williams Arena. Tip-off at Williams Arena is set for 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast by the Big Ten Network.

Minnesota (17-10, 6-9) vs. Michigan (17-12, 7-9)
Minneapolis, Minn. – Williams Arena
3:30 p.m. CT – Big Ten Network (Eric Collins, Jim Jackson)

PREGAME NOTES

Season to Date: Michigan enters Saturday's game trying to rebound after a buzzer-beater loss against Wisconsin in Ann Arbor on Wednesday. The Wolverines, like the Gophers have been inconsistent all year and have compiled a record of 17-12 overall and 7-9 in the Big Ten. Michigan hung with teams like Ohio State, Kansas and even beat Michigan State but have lost to teams such as Indiana.

Coaching Preview: John Beilein is in his 4th season as the head coach at Michigan where he has compiled a 57-61 record. In 33 years as a collegiate head coach, Beilein has manufactured 20 or more victories 15 times during his career. He is also the only active coach in college basketball to record 20 wins at four different levels: junior college, NAIA, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division I.

Series History: Michigan leads the all-time series with Minnesota, 77-59. Prior to this season, Tubby Smith has struggled against Michigan, compiling a record of 2-4 coming into the season but could pull back to a .500 record with the completion of the series sweet on Saturday.

Last Meeting: Just over a month ago the Gophers faced off against the Wolverines with the Gophers coming out on top by a score of 69-64. Despite earning the victory, Minnesota allowed freshman Tim Hardaway Jr. to score a game-high 20 points in the contest.

Stats to Watch: Minnesota is tops in the conference in blocked shots per game, averaging 5.56 per contest. The Wolverines on the other are at the bottom of the Big Ten with just 1.93 blocks per game. The Gophers' big men should be able to get some clean looks on Saturday over the Michigan defense.

Projected Starters:
23 Evan Smotrycz (6-9, 225, Fr.) – 5.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg
52 Jordan Morgan (6-8, 240, r-Fr.) – 9.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg
0 Zach Novak(6-4, 210, Jr.) – 8.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg
4 Darius Morris (6-4, 190, So.) – 15.1 ppg, 6.9 apg
10 Tim Hardaway Jr. (6-5, 185, Fr.) – 13.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg

Background:
Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Enrollment: 58,089
Conference: Big Ten
Nickname: Wolverines
Colors: Maize and Blue
Coach: John Beilein (4th season)


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