Bloomington, IN (Sports Network) - The top two teams in the Big Ten
Conference, and two of the best in the country square off on Saturday, as No.
8 Minnesota comes calling on No. 5 Indiana.
Minnesota has been nearly perfect this season, logging a 15-1 mark and winning
all three of its Big Ten bouts to this point. The Golden Gophers are in the
midst of an 11-game winning streak, which is their longest since reeling off
12 straight during the 2008-09 campaign. Minnesota's most recent triumph was
one of its most impressive as it took down No. 12 Illinois on the road this
past Wednesday, 84-67. This game marks the second of three straight UM will
play against a ranked opponent, as up next is a home game against No. 2
Michigan on Jan. 17.
Indiana spent much of the early season as the No. 1 team in the land, but an
88-86 overtime loss to Butler dropped them from that lofty spot. Since that
time, the Hoosiers have logged five straight victories, the most recent of
which being a 74-51 decision at Penn State last Monday. IU is a perfect 10-0
at home this season.
Indiana owns a 94-66 lead in the all-time series with Minnesota, and the
Hoosiers won the last meeting, 69-50, in Minneapolis on Feb. 26, 2012.
This is the first matchup of top-10 teams at Assembly Hall in Bloomington
since Feb. 19, 2000 when No. 10 Indiana played host to No. 7 Ohio State.
Joe Coleman scored 29 points and Andre Hollins tacked on 22, helping Minnesota
run past Illinois earlier in the week. Trevor Mbakwe posted a double-double
consisting of 19 points and 11 rebounds, as the Golden Gophers shot 52.9
percent from the field, knocked down nine 3-pointers, and outscored the Illini
on the break, 14-0. Illinois was held to 35.4 percent field goal efficiency,
and the Illini were brutal from long range (3-of-24). Andre Hollins (13.7 ppg,
3.7 apg), Rodney Williams (12.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 22 blocks), Austin Hollins (10.8
ppg) and Coleman (9.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg) are all averaging double-digits on the
season, and Mbakwe (9.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg) could certainly join them at some point.
The team as a whole is generating 76.0 ppg while yielding just 59.7 ppg, and
it is shooting a collective 47.3 percent from the floor while the opposition
checks in at 37.9 percent. An +11.4 rebounding advantage has been huge for the
Gophers, as is the fact that foes are guilty of more than 15 turnovers per
As expected, Indiana dominated its recent outing at Penn State, shooting 52.4
percent from the floor, draining 8-of-16 3-point attempts along the way, while
holding the Nittany Lions to 31.7 percent field goal efficiency, which
included a 27.8 percent showing from beyond the arc. A total of four players
scored in double figures for the Hoosiers, led by Christian Watford with 16
points. Watford also grabbed eight of the team's 33 rebounds. IU scored 22
points at the foul line compared to just eight for PSU. Indiana ranks among
the national leaders both in scoring offense (87.0 ppg) and scoring defense
(59.1), with the team hitting better than 51 percent of its total shots while
at the same time limiting the opposition to a mere 35.8 percent. The long-
range bomb has served the team well, as 41.9 percent of its 3-point tries find
the bottom of the net. Cody Zeller, one of the top candidates for conference
and national player of year honors, leads the Hoosiers with 16.5 points and
7.9 rebounds per game, while four others average double digits in scoring as
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