Outside game could give Panthers edge over Minnesota

Tonight the Milwaukee Panthers look to blow open the doors to the Barn and close out the non-conference portion of their schedule with a victory as they take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers at 7 p.m.
To accomplish that the Panthers will need another solid game from senior forward Matt Tiby, who has been exceptional so far this season. Tiby leads the Panthers in both points and rebounds as he is nearly averaging a double double. He is coming off his best performance of the season in the double overtime loss to South Dakota last week. In that game, he scored a career high 31 points to go with 17 rebounds. In that game he also became 26th player in school history to surpass the 1,000 point milestone. 1,000 points is a great accomplishment for any college basketball player but Tiby has reached it in only two and a half years with the Panthers. Tiby has seen his rebounding and scoring averages steadily increase over those years. He has progressed and matured into one of the Panthers best players and leaders as well.
The Gophers are coached by Richard Pitino. Like father like son (his dad his head coach at Louisville, obviously), he believes in bringing pressure in every way you can. Through traps and presses both of the full and half variety the Gophers seek to create offense out of defensive turnovers. Therefore it is important for the Panthers to maintain good spacing and keeping the floor spread properly. If the Panthers space their offense properly and avoid getting caught on the sideline in trap and press situations it will go a long way towards limiting their turnovers. The Panthers also need to avoid over dribbling against the Gophers pressure. Defenses that trap and press aggressively want the offensive players to dribble. What the Panthers need to do is spread the floor and pass against the traps and presses as opposed to dribbling. Aggressive defenses do not have time to react against good firm passes. The Panthers must resist the temptation to over-dribble against the Gophers because the Gophers use their pressure defense to force almost 13 turnovers per game.
The Gophers use an eight-man rotation but they get most of their scoring from six of those players. Senior forward Joey King is the Gophers leading scorer averaging better than 14 points per game. While listed as a forward, he also has the ability to hit three pointers. He averages over five three point attempts per game and already has a game this season where he made six three pointers. King has made about 45% of his three point attempts this season.
Freshman forward Jordan Murphy was recently named Big Ten Freshman of the Week. He has recorded double-doubles in four of his last five games. Murphy also is the Gopher lead in rebounding as he averages nearly twice as many rebounds as anyone else on the Gophers roster.
The Gophers offense is run by sophomore Nate Mason who is the team leader in both assists and steals. Mason has also scored in double figures in his last six games. Senior wing guard Carlos Morris is the second-highest scoring guard for Minnesota.
The Gophers will not have the services of Kevin Dorsey. Dorsey has been averaging about 20 minutes per game this season but he only played three minutes in the Gophers last game because of a heel injury. Minnesota will need to find replacement for his production, sitting at 7.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 1.5 apg on the season. Without him, the Gophers are very thin in the back court – beyond Mason and Morris, only Dupree McBrayer makes any measurable impact. McBrayer will
One area the Panthers will have a big advantage in this game is at the three-point line. The Panthers average over nine made three pointers per game. They have shot over 36% on the season on three point attempts and have already made over 110 three pointers this season. The Gophers on the other hand allow opponents to shoot almost 20 three pointers per game. The Gophers allow teams to hit 38% of those attempts or almost eight made three pointers per game. Their perimeter defense has been so porous that they’ve lose some games they should have won. So the Panthers are going to have the opportunity to shoot a bunch of threes. If they connect on them it could provide the necessary difference for them to make another statement heading into conference play.

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