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Previewing MSU vs. Minnesota

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Your Michigan State Spartans vs. the Minnesota Golden Gophers
Jack Breslin Student Events Center - East Lansing, Mich.
Jan. 11, 2014, 2:15 p.m.

Online streaming: BTN2Go

The MSU basketball team looks to move to 4-0 in Big Ten play when they welcome Minnesota to East Lansing for a mid-Saturday affair, and TOC looks to regain the Honeycrisp Trophy, lost in the most-recent MSU-Minnesota hockey game.

The Gophers come into this one 13-3 (2-1) and ranked No. 39 in KenPom. They lost to Syracuse and Arkansas on neutral courts in nonconference play, but beat a good Florida State team. In conference play, Minnesota lost by three points at home to Michigan, beat Purdue by three points at home and won at Penn State by three points, so they've been in some nailbiters.

MSU has won 14 straight home games against the Gophers and 18 of the last 21 matchups between the teams.

Minnesota's strength is its offense, ranked No. 33 in adjO. The Gophers are good at all levels, but not great, shooting 49.4 percent on 2s and 35.5 percent on 3s. They're No. 101 at holding onto the ball and No. 137 at getting to the free-throw line. They're No. 244 in tempo.

The two Hollins are the top offensive weapons, with Andre averaging 15.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists. His usage rate is 25.4%. No other Gopher is above 22.3% Austin Hollins averages 12.4 points and 6.8 rebounds. DeAndre Mathieu averages 11.6 points and 4.4 assists, but isn't much of an outside threat. Elliott Eliason leads the team on the glass with 8.5 rebounds per game. He's top-100 nationally in offensive and defensive rebounding rate and block rate.

On the other side, Minnesota is No. 79 in adjD, again, good but not great at anything. They press, but don't force a very high amount of turnover (20 percent). Opponents shoot 47.6 percent on 2s and 30.2 percent on 3s.

On the glass, Minnesota is pretty good on the offensive end (36.7 percent, No. 44) and OK on the other end (30.8 percent, No. 144). MSU had seemed to fix its rebounding problem before struggling against Ohio State.

Adreian Payne's foot issue surely was one factor, but his status remains up in the air. Same with Travis Trice.

KenPom predicts a 75-65 MSU win, giving MSU an 84 percent chance.

Also, for anyone going to the game...