Minneapolis, Minn. – Williams Arena
7:00 p.m. – ESPN3.com (Cory Provus, Mark Adams)
After moving up to No. 14 in the newest AP poll, the Gophers will face their toughest home test yet as they take on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Although Minnesota has dominated the Jacks in the past, the visitors will bring Minnesota native Nate Wolters to the Barn. The 6-foot-4 guard has been brilliant this season, averaging an impressive 20.8 points, 6.1 assists, and almost six rebounds per game. If the Gophers want to continue their assent in the polls they will need to limit Wolters from the opening tip.
Season to Date
The Jackrabbits are 6-2 on the year but have lost two road games, at Alabama and Hofstra, by a combined six points. Expect SDSU to play their best game of the year in hopes of upsetting the ranked Gophers.
Scott Nagy is in his 18th season as coach for the Jacks. During this span he has amassed a record of 322-200 for a .617 winning percentage. He has also won four North Central Conference titles and now one Summit League Tournament title. Nagy has earned Conference Coach of the Year five times.
SDSU traveled to Minnesota last November and were handled by a physical Gopher team. A healthy Trevor Mbakwe recorded a double-double with 17 points and ten assists. Wolters played a great game in the losing effort, totaling 20 points, six assists, and five rebounds.
Minnesota has been nothing short of dominant in the all-time series with South Dakota State. They have won all 16 meetings against the Jacks and are an impressive 60-1 against all Summit League opponents. The Gophers' last loss to the Summit League came in 1936 against North Dakota State.
Players to Watch
Nate Wolters – A potential pick in next year's NBA draft, Wolters will be one of the top players Minnesota will see all season. Playing in his home state should only add to Wolter's ability. The Gophers likely won't be able to stop the talented guard but will need to limit him as much as possible to avoid the upset at home.
Jordan Dykstra – Dykstra, a 6-foot-8 forward, will be tasked with defending the likes of Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams in the paint. If the Jacks want to stay with the Gophers, Dykstra will need to play a key role defensively.
G 3 Nate Wolters (6-4, 190, Sr.) – 20.8 ppg, 6.1 apg
G 12 Brayden Carlson (6-4, 205, Jr.) – 9.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg
G 25 Chad White (6-6, 215, Jr.) – 8.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg
F 42 Jordan Dykstra (6-8, 225, Jr.) – 12.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg
F 34 Tony Fiegen (6-7, 220, Sr.) – 9.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg
Location: Brookings, South Dakota
Conference: Summit League
Head Coach: Scott Nagy (18th season)