MINNESOTA-NORTHWESTERN IN BIG TEN TOURNEY, WEDNESDAY, 5 PM
Series: 167th Meeting (98-68)*
Series (Neutral): Sixth Meeting (3-2)*
Current Streak: W-3
Richard Pitino vs. Northwestern: 5-6
Minnesota vs. Big Ten: 769-846*
Richard Pitino vs. Big Ten: 52-85
* – excludes vacated games
Gopher head coach Richard Pitino spoke with MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm about the start of the Big Ten Tourney:
• The 12th-seeded Minnesota men’s basketball team opens postseason play against No. 13-seed Northwestern in the first game of the Big Ten Tournament first round Wednesday evening in Indianapolis.
• Center Daniel Oturu and guard Marcus Carr received All-Big Ten recognition Monday. Oturu was selected to the All-Big Ten second team in separate voting panels by the head coaches and the media, while Carr earned a spot on the All-Big Ten third team by the media vote. Additionally, Oturu was selected to the five-man Big Ten All-Defensive Team, as chosen by the head coaches.
• Several records were broken or matched in Sunday’s regular-season finale against Nebraska. The Gophers set a new mark with 18 made 3-pointers in a game while tying the school record of 32 assists. Sophomore guard Gabe Kalscheur tied the school record with eight 3-pointers, matching Malik Smith (1/26/14 at Nebraska) and Blake Hoffarber (12/15/09 vs. Northern Illinois).
• Carr became the Gophers’ all-time single-season assists leader against Maryland. Carr had seven assists which moved him past Arriel McDonald’s 26-year old record of 179 assists. The Toronto, Ontario native now has 202 on the season, including 130 in Big Ten games, breaking Ray Williams’ record of 118 from the 1976-77 season.
• The Gophers rank highly among the nation’s college basketball teams in several categories. As of Mar. 9, Minnesota is29th in blocked shots per game (B1G: 3rd), 30th in assists per game (B1G: 3rd), and 33rd in fewest turnovers (4th). Daniel Oturu is eighth in rebounds per game (B1G: 1st), 20th in the country in blocks (B1G: 1st), and 32nd in field goal percentage (B1G: 1st). Oturu’s 18 double-doubles rank sixth in the country and second in the Big Ten. Marcus Carr is eighth in the country in assists per game (B1G: 2nd) and leads the Big Ten in minutes per game (NCAA: 21st). Oturu is the Big Ten’s second leading scorer while Carr ranks seventh in the conference in points per game. Gabe Kalscheur leads the Big Ten in 3-pointers made per game and percentage.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
• After a stretch of 12 straight defeats, Northwestern is winners of two of its last three games, including an 80-69 triumph over Penn State on Saturday afternoon in Evanston.
• The Wildcats are just 3-11 in games away from Welsh-Ryan Arena this season, including a neutral site victory over Missouri Valley Conference Tournament champion Bradley on Nov. 25, 78-51.
• Miller Kopp is NU’s leading scorer, pacing a trio of double-digit scorers with 13.2 points per game. Boo Buie and Pat Spencer each contribute 10.5 points per contest as well.
• Northwestern is second in the Big Ten and ranks ninth in the nation with the fewest turnovers while ranking 10th in the country and second in the Big Ten averaging 10.6 turnovers per game.
• With a victory, the Gophers would advance to face the No. 5 seed Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday in the second round, with tip time scheduled for approximately 1:30 p.m. CT – 25 minutes following the conclusion of the 8/9 game that tips at 11 a.m. CT.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)