Preview: Minnesota II

Or: Tim’s foray into tempo-free statistics.

Michigan takes on the Minnesota Golden Gophers today at Noon (Eastern, 11AM local). The game, which is, like, super-important for tournament chances, can be seen live from The Barn on the ESPN machine.

Tempo-Free and efficiency comparison (if you need an explanation of what any of these things mean, head to KenPom’s website):

Michigan v. Minnesota: National Ranks
Category Michigan Minn (O) Advantage
Mich eFG% v. Minnesota eFG% D 142 55 O
Mich eFG% D v. Minnesota eFG% 179 141 O
Mich TO% v. Minnesota Def TO% 15 41 M
Mich Def TO% v. Minnesota TO% 151 246 M
Mich OReb% v. Minnesota DReb% 274 212 O
Mich DReb% v. Minnesota OReb% 163 63 O
Mich FTR v. Minnesota Opp FTR 321 159 OO
Mich Opp FTR v. Minnesota FTR 27 257 MMM
Mich AdjO v. Minnesota AdjD 57 19 O
Mich AdjD v. Minnesota AdjO 75 99 M

Differences of more than 100 places in the rankings garner two-letter advantages, differences of more than 200 get a third.

When Last We Met…

Michigan gave fans hope for a tourney berth (the one they’ve been dangling in front of us on a string attached to a fishing pole for much of the year), by blowing out Minnesota in a game that wasn’t even nearly as close as the 12-point margin would indicate. Zack Novak blew the roof off Crisler from distance, and the rest of the team wasn’t so shabby themselves. Manny was limited with some foul trouble, and Sims wasn’t a huge factor from the paint (see: Minnesota’s enormous, shot-blocking big men), but everyone stepped up to get the job done, including Kelvin Grady.

Since Last We Met…

Michigan dropped road games to Iowa and Wisconsin, sandwiched around beating Purdue in Crisler Arena. They have gotten generally better on offense (mostly on account of hot shooting days against the Gophers and Boilermakers), while also getting slightly better on defense (mostly because they owned the Gophers in Crisler).

Minnesota won home games over Northwestern and Wisconsin, while dropping a roadie to Illinois. The defense has improved significantly in that short range, while the offense, a point of complaint for Gophers fans for much of the year, has continued its slide. Perhaps importantly for this game, they’ve turned the ball over more than they had been, and forced fewer turnovers by opponents than they had been prior to the Michigan game. Their defensive rebounding percentage has improved ever so slightly from “abysmal,” and they’ve managed to maintain their #1 block percentage in the intermediary.


If Michigan can win this road game, they nearly have a berth locked up, unless they choke one away in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. If Minnesota can win, they probably have earned themselves a berth as well. Needless to say, this game is huge for both teams. Sadly, I don’t see the Wolverines coming home with a win, especially considering their struggles away from home this year. HOWEVA, that isn’t to say all hope is lost. An inconsistent team can lose to anybody, but they can also beat anybody.

KenPom predicts a 66-61 Minneosta win in a 63-possession game. He gives Michigan just a 28% chance of emerging with the win in Williams Arena.

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