Michigan looks to sweep season series with Minnesota
Updated On: Mar 01 2014 11:30:19 AM EST
Michigan got a big scare at Purdue on Wednesday but pulled through in overtime to maintain its lead in the Big Ten. Minnesota will try to knock the 16th-ranked Wolverines from that perch when it visits Michigan on Saturday. The Wolverines did not take a lead at Purdue until the first basket of overtime and needed a buzzer-beater from Glenn Robinson III to win for the third time in four games.
The Golden Gophers need a strong finish to the regular season and probably a good showing in the Big Ten tournament to secure themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament, and began that process with a 95-89 win over Iowa on Tuesday. Minnesota had failed to reach 50 points in either of its two previous games and had been held to 70 or fewer in five straight before exploding against the Hawkeyes. Michigan scratched its way to a 63-60 road win over the Gophers in the Big Ten opener on Jan. 2.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
ABOUT MINNESOTA (18-11, 7-9 Big Ten): The Gophers have posted quality home wins over the likes of Iowa, Ohio State and Wisconsin but could very much use a road win over a ranked opponent to impress the selection committee. Austin Hollins put up a career-high 27 points in the win on Tuesday as Minnesota shot 61.2 percent from the field to post its highest non-overtime point total in a conference game since 1995.
"I hit a couple of shots early on and I was just really feeling it," Hollins told reporters. "I had a few open looks and I was taken over with confidence. When you hit a few shots and they’re going in, you feel like it’s going in from anywhere."
ABOUT MICHIGAN (20-7, 12-3): The Wolverines are a game ahead of Michigan State with three left to play and own the head-to-head tiebreaker between the schools. Michigan will play two of its remaining three at home and could use more performances like Wednesday from Robinson, who scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half and overtime, and is developing some consistency with three straight games in double figures after scoring 10 or more points once in the previous six contests. Robinson blocked four shots in the first meeting with Minnesota but was held to six points on 2-of-5 shooting in 20 minutes.
1. Michigan ranks in the top 10 nationally in lowest turnover average.
2. Golden Gophers G DeAndre Mathieu is averaging 18.5 points on 14-of-21 shooting in the last two wins.
3. Wolverines G Nik Stauskas is averaging 20 points and four assists in the last two games.