Numbers to Know
144: Minnesota and Michigan will meet for the 144th time on Wednesday night with the Wolverines holding the series edge at 84-59.
56: Minnesota's last win came 56 days ago when the Gophers beat Chicago State at home, 70-52.
2: Number of games that Michigan has lost consecutively after losing back-to-back home games to Indiana and Michigan State, snapping a four-game win streak that began with the 74-69 decision against the Gophers on Jan. 20.
17.6: Number of points that Gophers guard Nate Mason is averaging in his last five Big Ten games.
17.6: Numbers of points that Michigan may get back tonight as their leading scorer in Caris LaVert has been cleared to play against Minnesota.
Projected Starting Lineups
G Derrick Walton Jr. (11.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
G M-A Abdur-Rahkman (6.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg)
G/F Zak Irvin (10.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
G/F Duncan Robinson (12.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
F Mark Donnal (7.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
G Nate Mason (13.4 ppg, 4.3 apg)
G DuPree McBrayer (4.9 ppg, 2.4 apg)
F Charles Buggs (6.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg)
F Jordan Murphy (10.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg)
C Bakary Konate (4.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
What to Watch
Michigan leads the league during Big Ten play in three-pointers averaging closing to 10 per game, while Minnesota is fourth in the Big Ten in three-point defense only giving up on average just about 32.6% behind the ark. Minnesota will need to limit Duncan Robinson specifically as he leads the team in three pointers attempted and he's converting them at a 48% clip.
During the two teams last meeting in late January, Michigan guard Derrick Walton was able to to get the free throw line at will in the second half and finished the game 11-12 from the stripe. On the other side of things, Gophers wing Carlos Morris had one of his better games of the season finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Forward Joey King lead the Gophers in minutes during the last meeting, but only had three points and four rebounds to show for it. During his last three Big Ten games, King is averaging only 2.33 ppg and 2.66 rpg, so Minnesota will need help from their senior forward if they want to get their first win tonight.
It'll also be interesting to see if Michigan's leading scorer in Caris LeVert returns tonight from injury. He's Michigan do-it-all player as he was the teams leading scorer (17.6), leading rebounder, assist leader and was shooting over 44% from behind the arc. If LeVert does return, that doesn't obviously bode well for Minnesota's chances.
I'd really like to predict that Minnesota can finally get off the schneid tonight against Michigan, but I don't think tonight is the night yet.
Despite losing their last two games, Michigan comes to Minneapolis potentially getting their best player back and I'm sure the Wolverines will be motivated to get back on track in the Big Ten. Minnesota on the other hand, who have played a lot better of late, got bombarded in their last game against Northwestern on the road.
Where Minnesota could exploit the Wolverines is behind the arc. Michigan has given up double digit three pointers in back to back games, which is an area that Minnesota has struggled at in Big Ten play, only averaging 28% behind the arc and are 13th in the Big Ten with only 5.5 threes made per game.
Despite the Maroon Out tonight at the Barn, I believe Michigan hands the Gophers yet another Big Ten loss.
Michigan 72 Minnesota 61