Minnesota Golden Gophers (20-9, 8-8 Big Ten) Streak:
Won 2 Last Game:
Defeated Penn State 73-44
Andre Hollins (leads teams with 13.6 points and 3.3 assists per game)
Austin Hollins (averaging 10.7 ppg and )
Joe Coleman (scoring 9.1 ppg, 10th in Big Ten with 1.5 spg)
Rodney Williams Jr. (had 23 points in first meeting with Nebraska)
Trevor Mbakwe (leads Big Ten with 8.8 rpg, scoring 10.0 ppg)
Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-16, 4-12 Big Ten) Streak:
Lost 2 Last Game:
Lost to Illinois 72-65
Dylan Talley (averaging 19.8 ppg over last six games)
Ray Gallegos (had 30 points in loss to Minnesota earlier this season)
Shavon Shields (averaging 9.9 ppg and 6.0 rpg over last 15 games)
David Rivers (averaging 7.2 ppg and 4.0 rpg over last seven games)
Brandon Ubel (had 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting in loss to Minnesota)
Battle for boards
It's no secret what Minnesota's formula for success has been all season, and that's completely dominating opponents more often than not in the rebounding department. The Golden Gophers come into tonight's game ranked seventh nationally with an 8.8 rebounding margin on the season, holding a 39.3 to 30.6 advantage on the glass over their opponents. More impressively, Minnesota leads the conference with over 15 offensive boards per game and a nation-leading 46.9 offensive rebounding percentage as a team. Considering the struggles Nebraska has had on the defensive boards at times this season, it will have to find a way to limit the number of second-chance opportunities and force Minnesota to try and win with jump shots.
Protect the ball 2
Just like he did during his glory days at Kentucky, Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith's team thrives off creating opportunities with a relentless full-court pressure defense. That is definitely reflected with the Gophers this year, as they lead the Big Ten with 8.1 steals per game and have two players ranked in the league's top 13 in steals. Nebraska has been pretty good about keeping its turnovers down this season, but going up against an aggressive team like Minnesota, ball security will be as important as ever tonight. Senior Dylan Talley has done quite well since taking over the point guard duties in early January, but he'll be in for another big test.
Use the emotion
Regardless of the outcome, tonight will be one more memorable games in recent Nebraska basketball history, as the Huskers will officially say goodbye to the Bob Devaney Sports Center as their home court after 37 years. On top of that, the team will also honor its three seniors - Talley, Brandon Ubel and Andre Almeida - with a pre-game Senior Night celebration. Needless to say, Nebraska will have more than enough motivation an inspiration than it could ask for to pull off an upset. While this season hasn't had many highlights, a win to send the Devaney Center and the seniors off right would a great way to go out.
"The best part of about Dylan is nobody chews a pack of gum like Dylan Talley. I mean, my goodness. He just works it. There's not a better jaw out there. He gets all fired up. I love that look on his face. It's just an awesome moment when I see him all fired up."
Senior forward Brandon Ubel on what it will take to knock off Minnesota:
"You just kind of look at what teams have done to beat them and what they've done to beat those teams and try to take away what they do really well, which is offensive rebounds, getting out in transition and force turnovers. We have to take care of the ball, make sure we get back on defense, block out and then finish the play with a rebound."