These two teams played just a couple weeks ago. The match ups really aren't much different, you can find my thoughts from the first time around HERE.
The two key matchups will be...
Whoever guards Raymar Morgan - 31 pt, 10 reb, and 2 asts just can't happen again. Hopefully Tubby will start Johnson on Morgan, but obviously there will be different people guarding him at different times. Keep him off the glass and keep him from carrying the Spartans again.
Whoever guards Dan Coleman - Coleman was the antithesis of Morgan, having a very below average game in East Lansing. I think if the Gophers want to pull of this upset then DC has to contribute significantly more than 6 points and 2 rebounds.
Keys to the Game
1. Stop Morgan AND Neitzel- I'm afraid that the Gophers will be so concerned with Morgan that they will forget about Neitzel. Final points for either of them isn't as important as letting them take over the game down the stretch. Both are capable of dominating, we can't let that happen.
2. Freshman Guards - Nolen/Hoffarber need to be a greater influence on this game than Kalin Lucas. Last game Lucas had 17 pts, 3 asts, 1 turnover. He needs to have several more TOs and under 13 points. On our side Nolen and Hoffarber need to do what they've been doing lately. Nolen needs to continue to be a mature PG who creates turnovers and the Hoff needs to give us a scoring boost off the bench.
3. REBOUND - last time around we were -17 in rebounding, including 6 offensive boards for Morgan. There is just no doubt that if we are outrebounded like that we won't have a chance to win. If we actually find a way to outrebound the Spartans I predict that we will win. Realistically we just need to keep it within 6 or 7 and we'll be in it till the end with a chance to win.
Like I said if we out-rebound them I think we win. I am supremely confident that this will be within a possession in the last couple minutes. I think we have learned from recent close losses and I'm going out on a limb to predict a win. This is more of me being hopeful than analyzing the game and seeing a win for the Gophers. There are things we will have to do and do well to win, but I'm going with my gut this time...
Minnesota - 71
Michigan State - 67