Gophers Seek Rebound to Toughness

The last time the Gophers and Badgers met, Minnesota coach Tubby Smith wasn't satisfied with his team's toughness. He'll look to change that and the Badgers' winning ways against the Gophers on Saturday. Get the scoop on Wisconsin.

Wisconsin will have a tough time with Minnesota on Saturday in Madison, at least compared to their game two weeks ago, if Golden Gophers head coach Tubby Smith can help it.

"We got beat in toughness categories," Smith said after the 63-47 loss to the Badgers on Feb. 3. "It came down to second shots, screens, going to the basket, all things we didn't do in the second half."

Wisconsin did all of that and more in round one of the Border Battle. The Badgers also shot 49 percent from the field and 44 percent (7-of-16) from 3-point distance and got 20 points from sophomore Trevon Hughes. Wisconsin scored 24 points off 18 turnovers by the Gophers, who shot 36 percent and scored their fewest points of the season.

Minnesota (15-8, 5-6 Big Ten) got zero points in that game from freshman guard Blake Hoffarber, one of the league's top 3-point shooters. In three games since, he has averaged 11.3 points and drilled 9-of-19 threes.

The Badgers have won 14 of the last 16 meetings in the series, including a 5-0 mark at the Kohl Center under head coach Bo Ryan. Wisconsin had won 16 consecutive Big Ten home games before losing to Purdue 72-67 on Feb. 9. The Boilermakers shot 53 percent from the field and forced 18 turnovers.

WISCONSIN 68, INDIANA 66: Senior center Brian Butch banked in a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds remaining as the No. 15 Badgers (20-4, 10-2 Big Ten) made a bad day in Bloomington even bleaker for the Hoosiers on Wednesday.

Butch, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half, scored the game-winner after freshman star Eric Gordon made two free throws with 17 seconds left to give 13th-ranked Indiana (20-4, 9-2) a 66-65 lead. Gordon led all scorers with 23 points.

Earlier in the day, the NCAA released a report accusing Hoosiers head coach Kelvin Sampson of five major violations.

This was the 150th meeting in the series, which Indiana now leads 93-57. Wisconsin had lost its last two games at Assembly Hall.

Sophomore guard Jason Bohannon led the Badgers with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting from behind the arc and senior guard Michael Flowers added 15 points. Junior swingman Joe Krabbenhoft grabbed 11 rebounds.

NOTES

  • In his first 18 games this season, 6-foot-11 senior Brian Butch was 3 of 32 from 3-point range (9.4 percent). In his last six games, he is 8 of 14 (57.1 percent).

  • After recording his first career double-double in the first meeting with the Hoosiers on Jan. 31, junior forward Marcus Landry was held to eight points and one rebound.

  • Sophomore guard Trevon Hughes continued his shooting slump, making 2 of 9 shots against Indiana. Over his last three games, he is shooting just 16.7 percent (4-of-24) from the field and 12.5 percent (2-of-16) from 3-point territory.

  • Same five starters. Same three subs. While it might seem like Bo Ryan doesn't have a ton to work with, sixth man Jason Bohannon's combo guard abilities give Ryan the opportunity to mix and match his lineup to match his opponents. Because Indiana tends to go small, Bohannon will be called on quite a bit in the Feb. 13 showdown with the Hoosiers.

  • Senior guard Michael Flowers showed no ill effects from his arm injury suffered Feb. 3 at Minnesota. Flowers played 77 of a possible 80 minutes against Iowa and Purdue as he delivered 23 points as well as his trademark stingy defense. Iowa leading scorer Justin Johnson, for example, managed only three points on 1-of-9 shooting.

  • Junior F Joe Krabbenhoft used to be unsung, but now television announcers praise him virtually every game for his contributions. Krabbenhoft continued to earn his just due by delivering 20 points, a team-high 17 rebounds and a team-high-tying four assists in Wisconsin's games against Iowa and Purdue. Krabbenhoft needed only 12 field-goal attempts to get those 20 points as he hit 10 of 13 free throws.

    IN FOCUS: Even for a Wisconsin team that swept Indiana, Minnesota and Illinois aren't easy prey, no matter what the pundits say. Defense is the pillar of the Illini, but whether Illinois has the quality depth to battle the Badgers for 40 minutes is unclear. Wisconsin's end-game execution, even on the road, has been stellar.

    PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters — F Marcus Landry, F Brian Butch, G Trevon Hughes, Michael Flowers, G Joe Krabbenhoft. Key Subs — G Jason Bohannon, C Greg Stiemsma, F Jon Leuer

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We don't think we gave our best effort tonight. I think we're more disappointed in that than the loss. We got away from some things we can do a lot better." — Wisconsin junior F Joe Krabbenhoft in the Capital Times after the Badgers' 72-67 home loss to Purdue.

    GAME REVIEW:

    Wisconsin 63, Minnesota 47

    Wisconsin 60, Iowa 54

    Purdue 72, Wisconsin 67

    Wisconsin 68, Indiana 66

    GAME PREVIEW:

    vs. Minnesota, Saturday, Feb. 16

    at Illinois, Wednesday, Feb. 20

    at Ohio State, Sunday, Feb. 24


  • Gopher Illustrated Top Stories