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Wisconsin basketball: previewing the Minnesota Golden Gophers

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A statistical breakdown of the Badgers next opponent.

Minnesota Gophers win over the Wisconsin Badgers at home. Photo by Renee Jones Schneider/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The Minnesota Golden Gophers stomped a mudhole in the Wisconsin Badgers at the beginning of February, but since then the teams have been on completely opposite trajectories. Let’s dive into the numbers and see if we can find out why.

Four Factors

KenPom’s Four Factors are eFG%, turnover%, offensive rebound% and FTA/FGA. These are good indicators of whether or not a team is, well, good. The numbers in parentheses are the national rank. (All stats as of Saturday morning, Feb. 29)

Minnesota Four Factors

4 Factors Offense Defense D1 Average
4 Factors Offense Defense D1 Average
eFG% 48.6 (220) 45.5 (25) 49.6
Turnover% 17.1 (62) 16.3 (318) 19
Off. Rebound% 31.1 (74) 28.4 (186) 28
FTA/FGA 28.1 (288) 28.2 (77) 32.5

Wisconsin Four Factors

4 Factors Offense Defense D1 Average
4 Factors Offense Defense D1 Average
eFG% 50.2 (147) 46.7 (64) 49.5
Turnover% 15.9 (22) 17.6 (260) 19
Off. Rebound% 24.7 (282) 26.1 (92) 28
FTA/FGA 26.8 (314) 24.7 (23) 32.6

The Gophers are a good defensive team and they force opponents to take shots they normally wouldn’t want to, as can be evidenced by their excellent eFG% on defense. Similarly to the Badgers, they aren’t big on forcing turnovers but they don’t turn the ball over much themselves. They also don’t foul much. They basically are just a worse version of the Badgers across the board except that the Gopher will occasionally get an offensive rebound. Weirdly, in the first game Wisconsin got 15 offensive rebounds to Minnesota’s 10, but that is more of an anomaly than any sort of trend.

Adjusted efficiency numbers

KenPom

Offense: 110.5 (No. 37 in nation)
Defense: 93.7 (No. 45 in nation)
D1 average: 101.8

T-Rank

Offense: 110.7 (No. 37 in nation)
Defense: 93.4 (No. 42 in nation)
D1 average: 101.8

The Gophers advanced stats show a team that should be far better than one game below .500. You’ll note below that they are No. 32 overall in KenPom’s rankings and even higher ranked in T-Rank. A lot can be explained by the fact that they have played the second hardest schedule (according to KenPom) and have a “luck” rating of -.113 which is ranked No. 344 (out of 353) in the nation. Purdue, who is 15-14 and ranked No. 25 in KenPom has a luck rating at No. 340.

Overall rankings

13-14 overall
7-10 B1G
1-4 in their last five games
3-9 in non-home games

KenPom: 32
T-Rank: 29
NET: 46

Top players

Player ORtg Usage eFG% 3P% FT% PPG RPG APG Turnovers
Player ORtg Usage eFG% 3P% FT% PPG RPG APG Turnovers
Daniel Oturu, 6-foot-10, soph. 112.8 27.6 60.1 34.7 70.2 20 11.4 1.2 2.9
Marcus Carr, 6-foot-2, soph. 104.3 26.7 43.9 34.1 70.9 15.5 5.6 6.7 2.8
Gabe Kalscheur, 6-foot-4, soph. 96.4 18.7 47.5 33.3 71.8 11.4 2.8 1.6 1.6
Payton Willis, 6-foot-4, junior 11.4 14.8 50.8 34.7 73.3 8.8 3.4 2 0.6

Daniel Oturu is a certified monster in the post and is ranked as the No. 9 player of the year nationally by KenPom. He only played 29 minutes against the Badgers in the first game due to foul trouble (he did foul out) but still scored 17 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and had four blocked shots. He was 4-of-4 from the free throw line, 6-of-10 from the field and only one turnover too. Outside of the fouling out, he had a really, really good game.

Marcus Carr almost had a triple-double the last time the teams played, finishing with 12 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in a casual 40 minutes of action. He and Oturu get to the line with the most regularity of any of the Gophers with Alihan Demir a distant third.

Payton Willis barely turns the ball over, but he is mostly a three point shooting specialist who has attempted 144 threes and only 15 free throws. He shouldn’t be turning the ball over much because he’s barely dribbling it. Willis went 5-of-7 from distance against the Badgers in their first meeting and led all scorers with 21 points. He’ll certainly be on UW’s radar for the rematch.

Gabe Kalscheur does everything pretty well, but nothing really well, and plays a lot of minutes for the Gophers. If he gets hot, which he’s capable of, he can be dangerous from three but he won’t be the primary focus of any Wisconsin defensive strategy.

Minnesota Twitter accounts to follow

@TheDailyGopher: SB Nation Minnesota account
@RyanBurnsMN: 247 Minnesota reporter
@BenjaminJDawson: Minnesota sports shouter online
@GopherHole: message board Gophers fans; proceed at your own risk