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Wisconsin vs. Minnesota: Opponent Preview

The Badgers enter Friday’s game as slight favorites.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Jovanny Hernandez / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

The No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers are set to take on the Minnesota Gophers at the Williams Arena on Tuesday, with tip-off scheduled for 6:00 P.M. CT.

Wisconsin is coming off a 91-79 win over the Indiana Hoosiers, bouncing back from an 87-83 loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions earlier in the week that cost them two spots on the AP Top 25.

How do the Badgers match up against the Gophers?

Opponent Preview

The Hoosiers have the sixth-best scoring offense in the Big Ten, scoring 77.2 points per game, while shooting 48 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from three.

They’re led by forward Dawson Garcia, who has taken over as the pure No. 1 option with Jamison Battle’s departure, averaging 17.7 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. Working primarily as an inside scorer, Garcia is shooting 45 percent from the field, while hitting 21.4 percent of his threes on 2.8 attempts per game.

With Battle’s departure, forward Joseph Ola-Joseph has stepped up, averaging 10.6 points per game, while shooting 63.6 percent from the field and 46.4 percent from three. Ola-Joseph plays just 20 minutes a contest, but is extremely efficient with his minutes.

Behind the top forwards comes transfer guard Mike Mitchell Jr., who comes in as a junior from Pepperdine. Developing into a starter, Mitchell has averaged 10.4 points a contest, while hitting 38 percent of his threes, which make up a majority of his volume.

Minnesota is rounded out with guards Cam Christie and Elijah Hawkins, who are known for their shooting and passing, respectively. Christie shoots 39 percent from three, while Hawkins averages 7.8 assists a game as the team’s leading facilitator.

The Gophers are a pretty deep team, as they run a nine-man rotation, with seven playing a prominent role on the team.

Minnesota has both inside and outside shooting, but is a better team inside the paint, shooting above 50 percent on two-pointers.

This game will pose a different challenge for the Badgers, as Minnesota has been somewhat streaky this season, beating teams like Nebraska and Maryland, while losing their last three to Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan State, respectively.

Minnesota has scored well in several outings, but have also struggled defensively at times, allowing 80+ points to Ohio State and Iowa.

The spread for the game stands at 3.5 points in favor of Wisconsin, while the over/under is at 139 points.

Prediction

While Minnesota can be streaky, I do expect both of these teams to play offensively, which is why I’m taking the over on points in this one.

With the Gophers in a rut, I expect Wisconsin to pull out the victory, but it seems like it’ll be more of a higher-scoring game than predictions anticipate.