November 27, 2007

Big Ten / ACC Challenge from Tallahassee

Below I have what I am certain will the Gopher's starting lineup.

This should really be a fun game to watch.


PG - Nolen vs. Douglas - Nolen has been playing really well lately but if I gave him the edge here, one could accuse me of being a homer. I'll give the edge to the Auburn transfer, but it's a slight edge. If Nolen can give some scoring spark, not turn the ball over and even create some steals that would go a long way towards a gopher win.

SG - Westbrook vs. Swan - I'm sure you'll see at least 4 different gophers guarding Swann. He is shooting great and keeping him down a little is critical to a win. It is tough to win on the road when the home team's best player is filling up the stat sheet. Defending Swann is critical and somebody has to do it. I actually am looking forward to watching McKenzie guarding him most of the time.

G/F - McKenzie vs. Rich - here is where we start to gain an advantage. McKenzie should be able to have a big night tonight, assuming his hammy is healthy and assuming he is shooting well. Rich is solid and likes to post up smaller guards but our bench should give us greater size at this position. Lawrence is a key every night but we'll need him on both ends tonight.

F - Coleman vs. Reid - once again this might be the pivotal matchup. The sophomore Reid isn't (shouldn't) going to dominate the scoring or even rebounding, but this is a game that Coleman really has an opportunity to step up and lead us tonight. Coleman just outscoring Reid isn't going to be enough. If he can play good D and chip in 16+ tonight then our chances of pulling out this huge road win go up significantly.

F/C - Tollackson vs. Echefu - advantage, Tollackson. Echefu is having a decent season but Tollackson is the heart and soul of this team. I am certain that he will have a really big game. But we need to not just win this matchup we need to dominate the paint. Echefu can't score and we need to dominate the boards.

Bench vs. Bench - I'm a big fan of the gopher bench tonight. I think that Johnson will matchup very well in this game with Mims and Rich. But everyone on the bench for Minnesota is slow and especially in the backcourt can be a defensive liability tonight. Abu-Shamala and Williams may both contribute with their 3-pt shooting and rebounding respectively but neither are complete players and could also be a liability with their lack of foot speed and scoring ability respectively.

Keep an eye out for everybody's favorite FSU alum (pictured right)!

Starting Lineups


PG - Nolen
SG - Westbrook
SG/F - McKenzie
PF - Coleman
C - Tollackson

key sub - Johnson (SF)
key sub - Williams (C)
key sub - Abu-Shamala (SG)
key sub - Payton (G)


PG - Douglas - 6'1"
SG - Swann - 6'2"
SF - Rich - 6'3"
PF - Reid - 6'9"
PF - Echefu- 6'9"

key sub - Mimms (G) - 6'3"
key sub - Vaugn (C) - 6'10"
key sub - Breedan (F) - 6'8"


The more I think about it the more I like our chances, but I just can't give the edge to Minnesota. The win at Iowa State was a nice road win, but it doesn't exactly make us road warriors. Tubby has these guys playing hard but the overall talent is still limited. If 3 or 4 things go our way we could win and we could even win going away. Florida State isn't exactly a great team, but they are good. They beat the Gators in Gainesville but they also lost to Cleveland State and South Florida.

Coleman and McKenzie are the key. Coleman needs to dominate his matchup for the first time this season and McKenzie needs to score in bunches. But I think on the road we lose to the talented backcourt of Florida State.

Minnesota - 64
Florida State - 68

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