Minnesota vs. Ohio State: The Minnesota Golden Gophers return to Williams Arena after a two-game stint on the road last week to face the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, Jan. 9. The game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
Minnesota was able to split the aforementioned games at Iowa and Purdue and with a win, the Gophers would start 3-1 in the conference for the second straight season.
Ohio State visits the Twin Cities after defeating Iowa on Jan. 6 in Columbus. The Buckeyes welcomed back their leading scorer, Evan Turner, in the game against the Hawkeyes. He had missed six games with a back injury.
About the Golden Gophers:
- Golden Gopher head coach Tubby Smith's all-time record stands at 440-174 (18th Season), while his Minnesota record is 53-29 (Third Season)
- The Gophers are among the nation's leaders in many statistical categories. As of the NCAA's most recent stats (Jan. 3), Minnesota is sixth in the country in turnover margin (6.6), sixth in steals per game (11.2), tied for seventh in assists per game (18.6), 13th in blocked shots (6.7) and 13th in field goal percentage defense (37.1).
- The Gophers are averaging 85.5 points over the last eight games and 79.3 ppg overall.
- Minnesota leads the Big Ten Conference in defensive field goal percentage (.379), blocked shots (97: 6.47 bpg) and steals (168: 11.20 spg).
- Blake Hoffarber is averaging a career-high 11.3 ppg this season and is shooting .532 (59-111) from the field and .494 (42-85) from three-point land, also career highs.
- Hoffarber is averaging 16.4 ppg and is shooting .635 (47-74) from the field and .574 (31-54) from behind the arc over the last eight games. Lawrence Westbrook is close behind at 14.2 ppg while shooting .524 from the field.
- Westbrook leads Minnesota in scoring for the season with a career-high 13.5 points per game. He enters the contest 47 points away from 1,000 for his career.
- Ralph Sampson III is the Gophers' leading rebounder at 5.9 boards per game. He missed his second-straight game (Purdue) with a sprained right ankle.
- The Gophers went 8-0 this season at Williams Arena during the non-conference schedule. Under Smith, Minnesota is 25-0 in regular season non-conference games at the Barn. Dating back to the 2006-07 season under Jim Molinari, Minnesota has won 27 consecutive non-conference regular season home games.
- Smith is 37-8 (.822) overall at Williams Arena during his two seasons at Minnesota.
- Minnesota is allowing just 59.6 points per game at Williams Arena under Smith (45 games). The Gophers allowed just 58.4 ppg at the Barn in 2008-09 in 19 games and 62.2 in 17 games during the 2007-08 season. Under Smith, opponents have only reached 70 points 10 times in 45 games at the Barn (22% of the time).
About the Buckeyes:
- Thad Matta is in his 5th season as the head coach at Ohio State. He is 4-4 against Minnesota.
- The Buckeyes come into the game off of a win at home against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Jan. 6.
- Evan Turner, OSU's leading scorer (17.3 ppg) and rebounder (10.6 rpg), returned to the lineup after missing the previous six games with a back injury.
- The Buckeyes boast a starting lineup with four double-digit scorers, including Turner, Jon Diebler (14.6), David Lighty (13.5) and William Buford (13.1).
- Minnesota is 48-76 against Ohio State all-time. The series dates back to 1904.
- The Gophers lost the last matchup with OSU, 64-58, in Columbus. The two teams have split the four games played in the Tubby Smith era, with all wins coming at each home venue.
- The Gophers are 32-29 against the Buckeyes in Minneapolis, 30-26 at Williams Arena.
- Minnesota holds a record of 678-728 all-time within the Big Ten Conference.
- Tubby Smith is 2-2 against Ohio State as a head coach.