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Wisconsin Badgers vs Minnesota Golden Gophers 2019 basketball preview

The Border Battle returns on Thursday evening, as the No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers host the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin (10-3, 2-0 Big Ten) has won eight straight against Minnesota in the series, though the Gophers hold the all-time lead at 102-100. The last time a Minnesota squad defeated UW was Jan. 22, 2014—an 81-68 victory for Goldy.

Minnesota (11-2, 1-1) looks to win for the first time at the Kohl Center since 2009 and are coming into Madison riding a five-game winning streak.

Senior forward Jordan Murphy leads the nation in rebounding at 12.6 rebounds per game and is just 14 points shy of hitting 1,500 in his Gopher career. Five Minnesota players average double digits this season, and based off of the game notes for this contest, all are listed as the projected starters for Thursday.

Two of those five possible starters are freshmen in guard Gabe Kalscheur and forward Daniel Oturu, with the latter currently second in the conference in blocked shots.

Bolstering its roster. Minnesota also saw the return of redshirt sophomore forward Eric Curry on Dec. 30. Curry missed all of the 2017-18 campaign and the first 12 games of this season with a knee injury. In his freshman year (2016-17), Curry averaged 5.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in 19.9 minutes of action per game.

Minnesota team stats

  • Points per game: 76.2
  • Opponents’ points per game: 68.4
  • Field goal percentage: 44.0 (335-of-761)
  • Opponent field goal percentage: 42.2 (324-of-767)
  • Three-point percentage: 30.6 (70-of-229)
  • Free throw percentage: 67.7 (251-for-371)
  • NCAA NET ranking: 50

Key KenPom.com Talk

  • Team rank: 62
  • Adjusted offensive efficiency: 107.8 (75th in the nation)
  • Adjusted defensive efficiency: 96.8 (63rd in the nation)
  • Offensive effective field goal percentage: 48.6 (243rd in nation)
  • Offensive rebound percentage: 38.2 (10th in the nation)
  • Offensive free throws attempted/Field goals attempted: 48.8 (fifth in the nation)
  • Three-point percentage: 30.6 (294th in nation)
  • Free-throw percentage: 67.7 (239th in nation)

Potential Gophers starters

  • Senior guard Dupree McBrayer: 10.6 points per game; 2.0 rebounds per game; 2.6 assists per game
  • Junior guard Amir Coffey: 15.1 points per game; 2.9 rebounds per game; 3.2 assists per game
  • Freshman guard Gabe Kalscheur: 10.4 points per game; 2.2 rebounds per game; 1.5 assists per game
  • Senior forward Jordan Murphy: 15.7 points per game; 12.6 rebounds per game; 2.9 assists per game
  • Freshman center Daniel Oturu: 10.8 points per game; 8.1 rebounds per game; 2.1 blocks per game (second in conference); four straight double-doubles

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