Minnesota vs. Michigan: The Minnesota Golden Gophers are happy to be back at the friendly confines of Williams Arena, as they are set to take on the Michigan Wolverines on Feb. 11. The game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (Central) and will be broadcast on ESPN with Brent Musburger and Hall of Fame Coach Bob Knight on the call. Holly Rowe will handle the sideline duties.
The Gophers are back in town after a snowy trip to State College on Saturday. Minnesota needed a step-back jumper at the buzzer from senior captain Lawrence Westbrook to squeak past the Nittany Lions, 66-64. Michigan comes to the Twin Cities after a tough loss at home against Wisconsin.
The Gophers are Wolverines are facing each other for the first time this season, despite being 10 and 11 games, respectively, in to the conference schedule. The rubber match is scheduled for March 2 in Ann Arbor.
About the Golden Gophers:
- Golden Gopher Head Coach Tubby Smith's all-time record stands at 443-178 (18th Season) while his Minnesota record is 56-33 (Third Season)
- The Gophers are amongst the nations leaders in many statistical categories. As of the NCAA's most recent stats (Feb. 7), Minnesota is sixth in assists per game (17.5), 11th in steals per game (9.6), 13th in blocked shots (6.3), 19th in turnover margin (3.8), 22nd in assist turnover ratio (1.33) and 27th in three-point FG percentage (.389).
- Individually, Blake Hoffarber is first in the nation in 3-point FG percentage (.500) while Al Nolen is 8th in assist turnover ratio (2.96) and 21st in steals per game (2.4). Also, Damian Johnson joins Nolen on the steals list, as he sits 31st nationally with 2.2 spg.
- Minnesota leads the Big Ten Conference in blocked shots (138: 6.3 bpg), steals (211: 9.6 spg) and defensive field goal percentage (.397).
- Blake Hoffarber is averaging a career-high 11.5 ppg this season and is shooting .524 (86-164) from the field and .500 (62-124) from three-point land, also career highs.
- Hoffarber is averaging 14.3 ppg and is shooting .583 (74-127) from the field and .548 (51-93) from behind the arc over the last 15 games. Lawrence Westbrook is close behind at 13.6 ppg while shooting .513 from the field in that same stretch.
- Westbrook leads Minnesota in scoring for the season with a career-high 13.3 points per game. He joined the Gophers' 1,000 point club with a pair of free throws in the second half against Michigan State on Jan. 23. He enters the Michigan game with 1,043 career points, which is 31st on the Gophers' all-time scoring list.
- Ralph Sampson III is the Gophers' leading rebounder with a career-high 6.2 boards per game. He collected his second career double-double, both this season, with 13 points and 10 rebounds at Penn State (2/06).
- Al Nolen will miss the rest of the season after being declared academic ineligible by the NCAA.
- 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 39-9 (.813) overall at Williams Arena during his two-plus seasons at Minnesota.
- Minnesota is allowing just 59.8 points per game at Williams Arena under Smith (48 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 48 games at the Barn (20% of the time).
About the Wolverines:
- John Beilien is in his 3rd season as the head coach at Michigan and is in his 32nd season overall.
- Michigan finished 21-14 last season and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 7 Oklahoma, 63-73.
- The Wolverines are led by the dynamic duo of Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims. Harris leads the team in scoring (18.3 ppg) and assists (4.0 apg) while Sims leads on the boards (7.5 rpg) and is second in scoring (17.0 ppg).
- The Wolverines are coming off of a 44-62 loss at home against Wisconsin on Feb. 6.
- Michigan holds a 75-58 record against Minnesota in the all-time series, dating back to a 28-13 Gopher victory in January of 1918.
- Minnesota does have a 38-26 record against Michigan in the Twin Cities.
- This will be the first game of the 2010 series. The Gophers will travel to Ann Arbor on March 2.
- The Wolverines swept the Gophers a season ago, 74-62 at Crisler Arena and 67-64 at Williams Arena.
- Minnesota holds a record of 681-732 all-time within the Big Ten Conference.
- Tubby Smith is 2-2 against Michigan as a head coach.