MINNESOTA (9-7, 3-3) vs. PENN STATE (12-4, 2-3)
Wednesday, January 15 – 8:00 p.m. CT
Minneapolis, Minn. – Williams Arena (14,625)
Series: 39th Meeting (28-10)*
Series (Home): 18th Meeting (14-3)*
Current Streak: W-4
Richard Pitino vs. Penn State: 7-4
Minnesota vs. Big Ten: 764-838*
Richard Pitino vs. Big Ten: 47-76
* – excludes vacated games
• The Minnesota men’s basketball team wraps up a two-game homestand on Wednesday night as the Gophers welcome Penn State. Minnesota has won four straight matchups over the Nittany Lions, while their last home loss to Penn State came in 2015.
• Marcus Carr completed a historic feat on Sunday against Michigan, becoming the first Gopher player with 20+ points and 12+ assists while finishing with zero turnovers. His 21-point, 12-point outing was the sophomore’s first career double-double and tied his career high in assists.
• Sophomore center Daniel Oturu, who earned his second Big Ten Player of the Week award on Monday, continues to put up eye-popping numbers as the season rolls on. The Woodbury native now has 10 double-doubles on the season after contributing 22 points and 10 rebounds on Thursday at Michigan State. Sunday in the win over Michigan, Oturu scored a new career high of 30 points while adding seven rebounds and a steal. It marked Oturu’s ninth 20-point game of the season after not accomplishing the feat once during his freshman season.
• Minnesota has been tested early and often, playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules in both conference and non-conference play. Through the games of Jan. 13, the Gophers’ schedule ranks as the 13th toughest in NCAA Division I according to the NCAA.
• The Gophers rank highly among the nation’s college basketball teams in several categories. As of Jan. 14, Minnesota is 22nd in blocked shots per game (B1G: 3rd), and 29th in assists per game (B1G: 3rd). Daniel Oturu is fifth in rebounds per game (B1G: 1st), 15th in the country in blocks (B1G: 2nd), and 13th in field goal percentage (B1G: 2nd). Oturu’s 10 double-doubles ranks sixth in the country and first in the Big Ten. Marcus Carr is ninth in the country in assists per game (B1G: 2nd) and leads the Big Ten in minutes per game (NCAA: 30th). Oturu is also the Big Ten’s second leading scorer, trailing Iowa’s Luka Garza (22.0 ppg). Gabe Kalscheur leads the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game.
SCOUTING THE NITTANY LIONS
• Penn State has dropped two straight games after an impressive start to the season, including five straight victories prior to the recent snap. The Nittany Lions are receiving votes in both polls after falling from the top-25 rankings.
• Four different PSU players average double figures, led by Lamar Stevens who chips in 16.3 points per game.
• Mike Watkins ranks fifth in the country and leads the Big Ten with 3.3 blocks per game, along with leading the team in rebounding at 8.5 boards per game.
• Defensively, Penn State paces the Big Ten leading the way in steals and blocks per game.
• Golden Gopher head coach Richard Pitino sat down with MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm to preview tonight’s game:
• The Gophers embark on their first of a pair of two-game Big Ten road trips, traveling to Rutgers for a 12 p.m. CT tilt on Sunday afternoon at the RAC.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)