Opponent Preview: Northwestern

Minnesota plays their last road game of the Big Ten regular season against the Northwestern Wildcats tonight in Evanstan, Ill. Tip-off at Welsh-Ryan Arena is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be televised by the Big Ten Network.

Minnesota (17-11, 6-10) vs. Northwestern (16-12, 6-11)
Evanston, Ill. – Welsh-Ryan Arena
7:30 p.m. CT – Big Ten Network (Tom Hart, Jim Jackson)

Quotable

"I did well. But I would have rather played less and maybe scored less and still got the win. That's just how I feel and I think a lot of guys on our team don't really care how much they get, as long as we get the win." – Northwestern backup center Davide Curletti after his career-high 18 points and six rebounds went for naught in Sunday's 78-63 loss at No. 12 Wisconsin.

"We're still playing to get in the tournament. We have two games left and we feel we can win those. This team fought hard to get into the tournament last year, and this year is no different. We're just in a little slump right now. We still are focused and we all have the same goal in mind." – Minnesota forward Trevor Mbakwe what he feels like the team is playing for with tournament seemingly out of reach?

PREGAME NOTES

Since the Last Time We Met: Northwestern enters Wednesday's contest with a 16-12 (6-11 Big Ten) record. The Wildcats' are coming off a loss to No. 12 Wisconsin (78-63). In the eight games since the last time the two teams met, Northwestern has compiled three wins and five losses. NU's most recent victory came on the road in Bloomington, Ind. against Indiana (70-64).

Coaching Preview: Bill Carmody is in his 11th season as the head coach at Northwestern where he has compiled a 156-175. 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, 90-58. The two teams split the season series last year with both teams winning on their home court. The Gophers won the first meeting between the teams this season. The Gophers are 53-18 against the Wildcats in Minneapolis.

Last Meeting: Then No. 16 Minnesota defeated Northwestern , 81-70, on Jan. 26, 2011, in Minneapolis, Minn. Trevor Mbakwe had Gophers with 18 points and 14 rebounds while Northwestern forward John Shurna posted 16 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats. The two teams played to a 34-33, Wildcat lead at halftime before Minnesota outscored Northwestern 48-36 over the remaining 20 minutes to get the victory.

Stats to Watch: When the Wildcats tally at least 70 points this season, their record is 15-1. Northwestern's record falls to 1-11 when it tallies 69 points or less. NU's only loss when scoring at least 70 points was against the Golden Gophers.

Northwestern is 36-3 at home against unranked opponents over the last three seasons.

Projected Starters:
C 12 Luka Mirkovic (6-11, 248, Jr.) - 7.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg
F 24 John Shurna (6-8, 215, Jr.) - 16.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg
F 03 Mike Capocci (6-6, 195, Sr.) - 1.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg
G 22 Michael Thompson (5-10, 190, Sr.) - 15.2 ppg, 4.4 apg
G 01 Drew Crawford (6-5, 205, So.) - 12.4 ppg, 4.5 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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