Game Preview: Gophers vs. Stanford 11/24/12

Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (4-2)
Saturday, November 24, 2012 | approx. 2:30pm CT | TV/Online: AXS.tv

Sophomore Andre Hollins carried Minnesota to victory with a 41-point performance as the Gophers handled the Memphis Tigers 84-75. Hollins had been struggling from the field this year, but caught fire early and finished 12-of-16 overall including a perfect 5-of-5 from 3-point range. The point guard also made 12-of-13 free throw attempts.

Later Friday afternoon, Stanford’s own sophomore point guard Chasson Randle would try to break out of his shooting slump after beginning the year 3-for-22 from behind the arc. While he didn’t score as many as Andre Hollins, Randle also led his team to victory with a strong 21 point, 6 assist and 5 rebound performance. The Cardinal handled a pesky Northern Iowa team by a final score of 66-50.

Minnesota and Stanford now meet for fifth place in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. The two programs last met in March when Stanford walloped the Gophers 75-51 in the NIT title game.  In that game Randle scored 15 points and the other two double-figure scorers from that Cardinal team are on this year’s roster as well. However, those other two are injured.

Guard Aaron Bright tied Randle for a team-high 15 points last March and wing Anthony Brown added 12 points and 6 rebounds. While there’s a chance they could try to play through injury on Saturday, both Bright and Brown have been kept out of the lineup thus far in the Bahamas.

While much of the personnel on the floor for Stanford will look different than it did in the NIT game, the team’s profile is much the same.

The Cardinal will play tough defense that focuses on limiting easy buckets and will try to force Minnesota to make contested shots. Last spring the Gophers were playing inspired offense until they ran into Stanford, who forced 22 turnovers and limited the ‘U’ to just 37.3% shooting (40.2% eFG). From an offensive efficiency perspective, the NIT championship game was the second worst for the Gophers in five seasons under Tubby Smith.

Chasson Randle, once a recruiting target of the Gophers, is a legitimate scoring threat and 6’10” Canadian face up forward Dwight Powell can cause matchup problems, but overall Stanford’s offensive attack won’t scare Minnesota.

The Gophers should be favored to win as they were against Memphis. Their shooting won’t be as good as it was Friday (57.1% eFG) so a reduction in turnovers (17 against the Tigers) and better defensive rebounding will be important. The Tigers rebounded the ball off the offensive glass 19 times or 45.2% of the time, including 15 (50.0%) in the second half. An edge in second chance points for Memphis during the second half of 13-3 kept them in the game despite Tarik Black and Joe Jackson being on the floor for a combined 9 minutes.

Stanford Cardinal Heather Grey Twill Pep Rally Hooded Sweatshirt

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OTHER NOTES

  • Austin Hollins went just 2/8 from the field (1/5 3FG), but did have 6 steals, 5 assists and 3 rebounds against Memphis.
  • Rodney Williams scored 13 points and added 6 rebounds, 3 assists and blocked 3 shots.
  • The Gophers made 28-of-33 free throw attempts (84.8%).

For additional information on the Gophers and Big Ten basketball, go to LateNightHoops.com.

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