Pregame Intel: Minnesota Golden Gophers

One of the teams picked to finish near the bottom of the Big 10 was the <b>Minnesota Golden Gophers</b>.<br><br> The problem is that nobody convinced them that they were just supposed to lay down and let the rest of the league beat them up this year.<br><br> Enter the other team, <b>Northwestern</b>, who was supposed to have a better year this year than last, but who have been struggling. They meet in Minneapolis this Wednesday night...<br>

The Cats haven't exactly "owned" the Gophers...
but Northwestern is 2-0 over the last two seasons.

This time it could be harder to continue the win streak, as the Wildcats head to "the Barn," home of the Gophers where they win 3/4 of the time. Minny is also coming off two straight wins, including a 60-50 win over Wisconsin last Saturday.
Official SiteThe main man in the Gopher attack and new since last year, is Guard Vincent Grier - [#15 Jr 6-5]. with a 17 points per game average, this left handed JUCO transfer has made a big difference to Minnesota.He's bounced around Div I a bit, but seems to have found a home in Minneapolis. He's also tied in rebounds per game and hits most of his free throws.

Official SiteAiding and abetting is Center Jeff Hagen [#42 Sr 7-0]. He's the team's deadeye dick - highest FG percentage, but then he scores a lot under the basket - He was originally a walk-on, but has taken his game to where he's one of the Gophers' Rebound Leaders, and is close to the top of the list in assists too.

Then there's the steal leader - or is it leaders, Forward Brent Lawson [#34 Sr 6-4]  leads the team with 46, but guard Rico Tucker [#24 Fr 6-0] has 43 and Grier has 41 - Minnesota is on a pace to break their own season steal record, averaging 9.9 per game.

Another interesting fact about Minnesota - two of their starters, Hagen and Lawson are both former walk-ons! Figuring NU's Mike Jenkins to start for the Cats - it will be a game where 3 of the 10 starters are walkons or former walkons.

Bill Carmody characterized Minnesota's team game as quick, and relentless. Under Monson, the Gophers play a 1-2-2 defense, with a lot of pressure from a half court trap. According to NU's Coach, "[they've] got good basketball players who are also pretty athletic and it makes an awful lot of difference just in covering ground."

Positives
  • "Barn Magic" - the Gophers have a .740 home record under Dan Monson
  • A den of theives - 4 Gophers average average close to 2 steals a game - the team averages 9.9.
  • The team shots almost 48% from the field and 38% from the arc.
  • They learned to share - The 5 starters all average over 2 assists per game.
  • The 3 players off the bench account for almost 25% of Minny's scoring this year.
    Negatives
    • Gophers might be considered short handed - they haven't played more than 8 players in the Big 10 Season.
    • Only one player shoots most of their 3 point attempts.
    Injuries
    • Adam Boone, last year's leading scorer and point guard is still out with a torn Bicep


    Coach Roy's Purple Reign Categories:

    The Big Gun #15 Vincent Grier
    17.0 points per game
    Deadeye Dick #42 Jeff Hagen
    Hits 57.9% of his attempts
    The Bomber #3 Aaron Robinson
    46 of 108 from the arc [42.6%]
    Off the Boards Grier and Hagen
    Both average 5.4 Boards a game
    Charity Stripe #15 Vincent Grier
    Makes 78.3% of his free throws
    Super Sub #24 Rico Tucker
    Avg 20.8 minutes a game - 7.9 ppg
    Pickpocket #34 Brent Lawson
    46 Steals*
    Helping Hands #3 Aaron Robinson
    64 Assists*
    Mr. Defense
    #42 Jeff Hagen
    55 Blocked Shots

    * 2 other Gophers [Grier & Tucker] have over 40 steals. Tucker has 52 Assists, Grier and Hagen have 51 and 52 also.

    Expected Starters



    PPG RPG
    Forward #34 Brent Lawson
    #13 Dan Coleman
    7.2
    9.0
    3.9
    3.8
    Center #42 Jeff Hagen
    11.7
    5.4
    Guard #15 Vincent Grier
    #3 Aaron Robinson
    17.0
    8.2
    5.4
    2.6

    Totals: 53.1
    21.1

    Minnesota Averages 71.6 ppg, 33.4 rebounds - they get almost 25% of their points from their bench


    Off the Bench
    [Have Played in most games, or Avging 9+ mins]:



    Minutes PPG RPG
    Forward #21 J'son Stamper
    17.0
    5.5
    4.5
    Center #50 Spencer Tollackson
    13.9
    3.6
    2.3
    Guard #24 Rico Tucker
    20.9
    7.9
    1.9

    Totals:
    17
    8.7

    Challenges for the Wildcats:
    • Have to do to Grier what we did the Landry - if we can.
    • the same thing with Hagen
    • Take Care of the Ball - Carmody's cardinal rule will be tested by a very good defense tonight.

    Game Starts at 7 PM - Wildcat Time

    TV:
      None
    Radio: WGN [and XM Satellite Radio 187] with Dave [Mr. Cat] Eanet and Bob Hildebrand.
    Gametracker: NU Sports

    You can Chat in the Free Chat room


    Statistics from the Minnesota official site 

    You can send your comments or "back door" information
    to Coach Roy
    or on AIM: CoachRoy74
    Go Cats
    Beat 'em All!
    Talk about it on the Purple Boards
    [Click Here]
    Copyright 2004 by PurpleWildcats.com/Purple Reign

    Purple Wildcats Top Stories

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