Indiana Basketball vs Minnesota: Know your opponent, preview, and prediction

BLOOMINGTON, IN - FEBRUARY 09: Devonte Green #11 of the Indiana Hoosiers defends during a game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Assembly Hall on February 9, 2018 in Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana won 80-56. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IN - FEBRUARY 09: Devonte Green #11 of the Indiana Hoosiers defends during a game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Assembly Hall on February 9, 2018 in Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana won 80-56. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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The Indiana basketball team is looking to get back on track after two straight road losses. They host the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Wednesday night.

The Hoosiers head into Wednesday’s home game trying to get back in the win column after losing their last two games on the road at Purdue and Illinois. Indiana lost an ugly game at Purdue where they only shot 25.4 percent from the field and hit just one more field goal then they did free throws (15-14).

Against Illinois, the Hoosiers were right there ready to pull off a big road win, but Trayce Jackson-Davis missed two free throws that could have tied the game and some questionable calls went the Illini way to help them secure the win. It was a game that, had the Hoosiers won, they would have all but sewn up a berth into the NCAA tournament.

The Hoosiers still should be good, but they can’t afford to lose their last two home games. After Minnesota, they host the red hot Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday to wrap up the regular season. Currently, the Hoosiers are still safely in the field, but if they were to drop both of their remaining regular-season games they could be on the wrong side of the bubble.

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Wednesday the Hoosiers host Minnesota looking for a season sweep as they got a rare road win when they beat the Golden Gophers just two weeks ago. During that game, Indiana trailed for most of the first half before finally taking the lead in the second and pulling away for a 12 point win.

Indiana was able to limit the Gophers leading scorer Daniel Oturu to just 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting. That will be the big key for the Hoosiers if they want to beat Minnesota again.

They also limited the Gophers to just 4-of-25 shooting from the outside. Minnesota likes to play inside out, running their offense through Oturu and if the Hoosiers can limit him it forces them to try and win the game from the outside which they are not built to do.

The Golden Gophers shoot just 32 percent from deep on the season with Marcus Carr and Gabe Kalscheur being their biggest threats, but neither shoot better than 34%. If the Hoosiers can force Minnesota to try and win the game from the outside again they should be in great shape.

Stopping Oturu and getting Trayce Jackson-Davis, De’Ron Davis, and their other bigs easy looks will be the key to the Hoosiers getting a much-needed home win. When Oturu plays well for Minnesota they are very tough to beat, but when a team slows him down they have trouble scoring points. Stop Oturu and you effectively stop the Gophers.

Key Storylines

Indiana

Will the Hoosiers be able to slow Oturu as they did in Minneapolis? Can the Hoosiers shake off an ugly loss to Purdue and a heartbreaking loss to Illinois to refocus and get a big home win? Can the Hoosiers recapture the intensity they had when they beat Penn State at home a week and a half ago? Can Trayce Jackson-Davis find openings down low against the bigger Oturu?

Minnesota

Will Oturu be a force down low or will he struggle like last time against the Hoosiers? Can Minnesota hit outside shots to loosen up the defense? Can they finally pick up a big road win to help their very slim bubble chances?

Key Players

Indiana

Trayce Jackson-Davis (13.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg), Justin Smith (10.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Devonte Green (10.7 ppg, 37.1% 3pt), Al Durham (9.7 ppg, 36.5% 3pt)

Minnesota

Daniel Oturu (20.2 ppg, 11.4 rpg), Marcus Carr (15.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Gabe Kalscheu (11.2 ppg, 33.5% 3pt), Payton Willis  (8.9 ppg, 34.2% 3pt)

Next. Hoosiers in the middle of a muddled Big Ten. dark

Prediction: Indiana 78, Minnesota 71