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Michigan Wolverines Basketball: Minnesota Preview

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Jordan Murphy averages a double-double with his 15.0 points and 11.9 rebounds per game.
Jordan Murphy averages a double-double with his 15.0 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. (USA Today Sports Images)

In the race for the Big Ten regular season championship, Michigan faces another tough battle Thursday night at Minnesota.

The Wolverines defeated the Gophers earlier this season 59-57 at the Crisler Center on Jan. 22 after redshirt junior guard Charles Matthews making a game-winning shot. The rematch tips off at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN with Jason Benetti and Robbie Hummel on the call.

U-M leads the all-time series, 94-66, winning the last three meetings and 12 of the last 13 games against Minnesota. Although Michigan lost at Minnesota last season 83-78, the Wolverines are 8-2 in their last 10 games in Minneapolis. Overall, U-M holds a 33-45 record on the road in the series. Michigan head coach John Beilein is 7-4 against Minnesota.

Minnesota is 17-9 so far this season with a 7-8 mark in Big Ten play. The Gophers are 12-2 at home, including a 6-2 mark in league play. Since losing at Michigan, Minnesota has gone 3-4, with three victories over Iowa, Illinois and Indiana at home.

The Gophers offense struggles to shoot the ball as their effective field goal percentage of 49.0 is the 254th in the nation. They are currently shooting 32.1 percent from three, which is 274th in the nation, but the Gophers only shoot threes on 29.8 precent of their attempted field goals, which is the 341st lowest in college basketball.

Where Minnesota’s offense is successful is in getting to the free throw line as its free throw attempted to field goal attempted ratio of 43.1 is the 11th best in the nation and their offensive rebounding percentage of 33.9 is 37th. The Gophers are second in the Big Ten with 12.2 offensive rebounds per game and rank fourth with 37.5 total rebounds per game.

Senior forward Jordan Murphy averages a double-double with his 15.0 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. His defensive rebounding percentage of 31.3 is the fifth-best in college basketball, while his offensive rebounding percentage of 13.0 is the 50th best. Murphy is very skilled at getting to the free throw line as his free throw rate of 77.7 is the 11th best in college basketball.

Junior forward Amir Coffey is Minnesota’s leading scorer at 15.3 points per game, while also averaging 3.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and a steal a game.

Freshman center Daniel Oturu is averaging 7.0 rebounds per game, with a offensive rebounding percentage of 12.7 is the 70th best in the country. He’s also one of the best shot blockers in the Big Ten as his block percentage of 7.0 is 88th in the nation.

Freshman shooting guard Gabe Kalscheur is the fourth double-figure scorer for the Gophers with his 10.5 per game. He is shooting 40.0 percent from three, which is 267th in the country.

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