Minnesota vs. Purdue: The Minnesota Golden Gophers will play host to the Purdue Boilermakers on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at Williams Arena, their third game in seven days. The Gophers will be looking to equal the season series after dropping game one against the Boilermakers on Jan. 5 in West Lafayette.
The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network with Wayne Larrivee and former Northwestern Wildcat Shon Morris on the call.
Purdue comes to the Twin Cities as the #3 ranked team in the nation. They will be the highest ranked opponent in the Barn since the Gophers played #3 Wisconsin and #2 Ohio State in back-to-back games during the 2007 conference season.
Minnesota has played four games already this season against top-10 teams, having defeated #10 Butler and dropping games to #4 Purdue and two to Michigan State (ranked 7th & 6th, respectively, at the time of the matchup).
Minnesota's last victory over a top-5 opponent at Williams Arena came on Feb. 12, 1992 by a score of 71-67 over #4 Indiana. However, the Gophers' last victory over a top-5 team came during the opening round of the 1994 Great Alaska Shootout, 72-70 over #5 Arizona (that game has since been vacated). Minnesota does have a home win over a team ranked #1 in the country, coming by a score of 69-62 over Illinois during the 1988-89 season.
About the Golden Gophers:
- Golden Gopher Head Coach Tubby Smith's all-time record stands at 445-180 (18th Season) while his Minnesota record is 58-35 (Third Season)
- The Gophers are amongst the nations leaders in many statistical categories. As of the NCAA's most recent stats (Thru games of Feb. 21), Minnesota is 6th in assists per game (17.3), 11th in three-point FG percentage (.399), 14th in blocked shots (6.1), 20th in steals per game (8.8) and 20th in assist turnover ratio (1.32).
- Individually, Blake Hoffarber is second in the nation in 3-point FG percentage (.490) and 45th in three-point field goals per game (2.7). Also, Damian Johnson is first in the Big Ten Conference and sits 36th nationally with 2.0 steals per game.
- Minnesota leads the Big Ten Conference in blocked shots (158: 6.1 bpg), steals (228: 8.8 spg), defensive field goal percentage (.394) and three-point field goal percentage (.399) and is third in field goal percentage (.475).
- Blake Hoffarber is averaging a career-high 11.5 ppg this season and is shooting .526 (102-194) from the field and .490 (71-145) from three-point land, also career highs.
- Hoffarber is averaging 13.8 ppg and is shooting .573 (90-157) from the field and .526 (60-114) from behind the arc over the last 19 games. Lawrence Westbrook is close behind at 13.7 ppg while shooting .503 from the field in that same stretch.
- Westbrook leads Minnesota in scoring for the season with a career-high 13.4 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 Purdue game with 1,100 career points, which is 25th 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 41-10 (.804) 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 (51 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 11 times in 51 games at the Barn (21% of the time).
About the Boliermakers:
- Matt Painter is in his 5th season as the head coach at Purdue.
- The Boilermakers come in to the game as the 3rd ranked team in the nation. They become the Gophers third opponent, and their fifth game of the season against a top-10 team. Minnesota defeated #10 Butler on Nov. 26 in the 76 Classic, lost to #4 Purdue on Jan. 5 and lost both games this season to Michigan State (ranked #7 on Jan. 13 & #6 on Jan. 23).
- The Boilermakers boast a starting lineup with three double-digit scorers, led by junior guard E'Twaun Moore at 17.2 ppg.
- Junior forward Robbie Hummel leads the team in rebounding at 7.2 rpg.
- Minnesota is 73-85 against Purdue all-time. The series dates back to 1904.
- The Gophers lost the first game of the season series 60-79 on Jan. 5 in West Lafayette, snapping the team's seven-game win streak at the time. Paul Carter led Minnesota with 15 points.
- The Gophers are on a four-game losing streak against Purdue. Minnesota's last victory in the series came during the 2007 Big Ten season.
- The Gophers are 48-28 against the Boilermakers in Minneapolis.
- Minnesota holds a record of 683-734 all-time within the Big Ten Conference.
- Tubby Smith is 2-3 against Purdue as a head coach.