The Minnesota Golden Gophers will defend their newly acquired national ranking in a contest at the Donald L. Tucker Center against the Florida State Seminoles as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The Gophers are coming off a successful run in the Battle 4 Atlantis in which they managed to grab two wins in three games. The only loss came against now second-ranked Duke (89-71) with the wins against strong Memphis and Stanford squads. Before that Minnesota had racked up four straight wins at home where it will return for six of its next seven games.
After a shocking loss on its home floor to South Alabama in the season opener, Florida State looks a lot more like the team that won the ACC Tournament last season. The Seminoles have won four straight games, including an 73-66 victory over Saint Joseph's in the title game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Florida State should get settled in now as they play four more home games, including a battle with instate rival Florida, over the next few weeks.
Florida State leads the all-time series with the Gophers after having won the last two meetings to earn a 4-3 series lead.
Tied 63-63 with just one second remaining, Minnesota's Andre Hollins was fouled on a 3-point attempt and sent to the line. Hollins sank all three free throws and the Gophers topped Stanford 66-63. The game featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes, with neither team ever going ahead by double digits. It was Trevor Mbakwe's 19-point, 12-rebound double-double that carried Minnesota in the win.
The backcourt tandem of Andre and Austin Hollins has been a very productive one of Tubby Smith. Andre (14.0 ppg, 4.0 apg) is scoring and distributing well but could use some improvement in his shooting from the field (37.5 FG percentage). Austin (11.3 ppg,, 4.0 rpg, 2.4 spg) has been a less prolific scorer but is disruptive on defense and can hit shots when called upon. In the frontcourt, Rodney Williams (14.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is the top option in the starting five. He finishes well around the rim (66.7 FG percentage) and is one of only two players on the team brining in more than five boards a game. Mbakwe's contributions off the bench (8.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) have been a big boost as well.
Florida State took on North Florida last time out and came away with a 75-67 victory. The Seminoles opened the game on a 16-3 run and would never lead by fewer than five points the rest of the way. Florida State shot 45.5 percent in the game but did struggle from beyond the arc where it was outscored 27-6. Michael Snaer hit both of those triples and finished with 21 points and eight rebounds.
Getting Snaer going is something Florida State needed after he was slowed in the season-opening loss. Snaer has turned it around and is scoring a team-high 16.0 points per game, while bringing in 6.4 rebounds. He missed all six of his 3-point attempts in the opener but has knocked down 11-of-21 attempts since. The Seminoles are also an imposing team on the front line with Okaro White (14.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Terrance Shannon (10.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg). By pounding the ball down low the Seminoles have earned a stellar 51.9 field goal percentage overall, while scoring an impressive 80.4 points per game.