Mon, 06 Feb 2023

Minnesota facing another 'big' problem vs. Michigan

Field Level Media
08 Dec 2022, 06:40 GMT+10

The Minnesota Golden Gophers were overwhelmed by one of the nation's premier college centers in their Big Ten opener.

They'll face another one in their second conference game when they host Michigan in Minneapolis on Thursday.

Purdue's Zach Edey racked up 31 points and 22 rebounds in the Boilermakers' 89-70 victory on Sunday, handing the Golden Gophers (4-4, 0-1 Big Ten) their third consecutive loss.

"I don't think there's a team in the country that has an answer for him," Minnesota coach Ben Johnson said. "The problem is he puts so much foul pressure on you. We didn't get off to a good start but they do such a good job of getting him the ball that it's just a matter of time."

Minnesota was down 42-27 at halftime, though it showed some signs of life in the second half by scoring 43 points.

"I thought it was a better offensive effort than the last couple of games," Johnson said. "The ball was moving more than it had."

Defending Wolverines big man Hunter Dickinson will pose another challenge for the Golden Gophers. Dickinson, who is averaging 19.6 points and 9.1 rebounds, has scored 23 points in each of his last two games.

"Hunter has established in the last three years that he's one of the best bigs in the country," Wolverines coach Juwan Howard said. "Hunter has proven it with his work ethic and his approach. He's always in the gym. He and I worked individually together and he also watches film. Hunter's success is built on the fact that he's passionate on wearing that Maize and Blue."

Those points went for naught, as the Wolverines lost to No. 3 Virginia 70-68 on Nov. 29 and to No. 19 Kentucky 73-69. The latter game was played in London on Sunday. Michigan shot 39.1 percent and got out-rebounded 46-33 but hung around behind Dickinson and freshman guard Jett Howard (16 points).

Michigan (5-3, 0-0) will be playing its Big Ten opener. The Wolverines will be without starting point guard Jaelin Llewellyn, who suffered a torn ACL in the second half on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season.

--Field Level Media

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