Opponent Preview: Northwestern

Minnesota looks to sweep Northwestern on Saturday in Evanston, Ill. Tip-off at Welsh-Ryan Arena is set for 6:00 p.m. and will be televised by the Big Ten Network.

Minnesota (17-9, 5-8) vs. Northwestern (15-9, 5-8)
Evanston, Ill. – Welsh-Ryan Arena
6:00 p.m. CT – Big Ten Network (Eric Collins, Shon Morris)

QUOTABLE

"Teams were keying in on John and Drew all year; it was time for other players to step up. I think we stepped up pretty well tonight. We had five guys in double figures; that's a tremendous accomplishment for our unselfishness." – Northwestern guard Alex Marcotullio, after the victory over Iowa

"The last few games he's played very, very well, taking care of the ball again and doing the right things. I'm coaching that kid hard because you can. He's one of those guys that I was on a couple of times, but I thought his decision-making was very, very good. You can coach him hard, he snarls at you every once and while and all that but in a good way." – Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody on freshman point guard Dave Sobolewski

PREGAME NOTES

Since the Last Time They Met: Northwestern enters Saturday's contest with a 15-9 (5-8 Big Ten) record. The Wildcats are coming off a loss to No. 18 Indiana (71-66). In the six games since the last time the two teams met, Northwestern has compiled three wins and three losses. NU's most recent victory came at home against Iowa (83-64) on February 9.

Coaching Preview: Bill Carmody is in his 12th season as the head coach at Northwestern where he has compiled a 175-187 record. A year ago he led the Wildcats to a school-record 20 wins and a berth in the National Invitation Tournament. The 16-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, 90-60. The Gophers won the first meeting between the teams this season. UM has a record of 34-40 against the Wildcats in Evanston.

Last Meeting: Minnesota defeated Northwestern, 75-52, on Jan. 22 in Minneapolis, Minn. Freshman Joe Coleman had 16 points, five rebounds and three steals for the Gophers while Northwestern forward John Shurna posted 21 points on 8 of 21 shooting for the Wildcats. NU shot 32.7 percent and missed its first 15 shots of the game.

Hot Shooting: The Wildcats averaged 80.3 points during their three-game winning streak. Shooting 53.7 percent from the floor, including 46.1 percent from 3-point range.

Projected Starters:
G 3 Dave Sobolewski (6-1, 185, Fr.) - 8.9 ppg, 3.8 apg
G 11 Reggie Hearn (6-4, 210, Jr.) - 7.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg
G 4 Alex Marcotullio (6-3, 183, Sr.) - 4.9 ppg, 2.2 apg
F 1 Drew Crawford (6-5, 205, Jr.) - 16.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg
F 24 John Shurna (6-9, 220, Sr.) - 20.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg

Background:
Location: Evanston, Ill.
Enrollment: 8,367
Conference: Big Ten
Mascot: Willie the Wildcat
Colors: Purple and White
Coach: Bill Carmody (12th season)


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