Skip to content

No. 8 Minnesota rolls through No. 12 Illinois, 84-67

Jan 10, 2013, 1:10 AM EDT

Minnesota v Illinois Getty Images

For the past week, ever since Minnesota kicked off Big Ten play with a win over Michigan State in The Barn, I’ve said that the team that wins big games on the road will win the Big Ten, and that until that road win comes, keep the hype in check.

Well, Gopher fans, it is time for you to start getting hyped.

Because No. 8 Minnesota didn’t just beat No. 12 Illinois on Wednesday. The Gophers went into Champaign and smacked the Illini around, winning 84-67 and never looking back after a 17-5 first half run gave them a 28-21 lead.

Joe Coleman played his best game as a Gopher, finishing with 29 points on 10-16 shooting, while Andre Hollins added 22 points, eight boards and six assists and Trevor Mbakwe chipped in with 19 points and 11 rebounds. The most important number, however, was the 3-24 that Illinois shot from beyond the arc. The Illini score 37.0% of their points from three, so it goes without saying that when they have an off-night, they are going to be in trouble.

Minnesota played some terrific defense on the Illini on the perimeter, using their size and length in the back court to cause problems. They cut down on the penetration the Illini were able to get, which in turn made it easier to contest spot-up threes.

Now, it should be noted that this wasn’t all Minnesota’s doing. Tracy Abrams, Illinois’ point guard and best creator, was in foul trouble for much of the game. And Brandon Paul, Illinois’ all-american two-guard, took a shot to the nose early in the game that looked to knock him out of any kind of rhythm.

But that shouldn’t take away from Minnesota’s performance on Wednesday.

They are, as of today, the third best team in the Big Ten, and that’s more or less inarguable.

But can they truly compete for the Big Ten title?

Well, they have the size and athleticism to match up with Indiana. They have the versatility to matchup with Michigan. They have a hoss on the block in Mbakwe and a dynamic combo-guard running the show in Hollins. Williams, Austin Hollins and Coleman are above-average role-players. If there is a weakness with Minnesota, it’s a lack of depth; they didn’t get a single point off their bench on Wednesday, and the four reserves managed all of four shots.

That question will answer itself in the next week. Minnesota heads to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers on Saturday, and follow that up by hosting Michigan next Thursday.

Buckle up.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Latest Posts
  1. Oregon lands four-star Class of 2016 wing

    Apr 25, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    Dana Altman AP

    Oregon landed a commitment from a former San Diego State pledge.

  2. Maryland guard will return for one more season

    Apr 25, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    image

    Maryland returns another reserve guard for next season.

  3. EYBL Day 1: Jayson Tatum vs. Michael Porter Jr.; De’Aaron Fox, Jarred Vanderbilt go for big outings

    Apr 25, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    The D1Circuit The D1Circuit

    The opening night of the EYBL had some high-level matchups and a great performance from the Houston Hoops duo of De’Aaron Fox and Jarred Vanderbilt.

  4. POSTERIZED: Class of 2017 four-star guard M.J. Walker throws down on a defender

    Apr 25, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    image

    Get out of the way if M.J. Walker is sizing you up for a dunk.

  5. Report: Mark Tollefson transfers to Arizona, eligible immediately

    Apr 24, 2015, 8:51 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Kaleb Tarczewski decided to return to Arizona earlier in the day.

  6. Duke raises 2015 national championship banner (VIDEO)

    Apr 24, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 8.03.53 PM

    The fifth banner is now hanging in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

  7. DePaul loses junior guard, incoming recruit

    Apr 24, 2015, 6:56 PM EDT

    AP AP

    DePaul lost a junior guard and a three-star forward (for the second time) on Friday evening.

  8. Georgia Tech lands Virginia Tech graduate transfer

    Apr 24, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    He’ll be able to play immediately.

  9. Shannon Evans transfers to Arizona State, reunites with Bobby Hurley

    Apr 24, 2015, 4:21 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The second team All-MAC guard will have two years of eligibility left.

  10. Florida forward Chris Walker officially entering NBA Draft

    Apr 24, 2015, 2:35 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Walker’s career didn’t pan out the way anyone expected, but he’s headed to the pro game after two seasons.

  11. 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List

    Apr 24, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Who’s going pro? Who’s returning to school? Who are we still waiting to hear from?

  12. Providence announces return of point guard Kris Dunn for 2015-16 season

    Apr 24, 2015, 1:52 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    A roster that will be both young and talented returns its leader as Dunn will be back for another season.

  13. Five-star guard Malik Newman commits to Mississippi State

    Apr 24, 2015, 1:14 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    It was reported earlier this week that Newman would be headed to Starkville, and he made it official Friday afternoon.

  14. Arizona center Kaleb Tarczewski announces return for senior season

    Apr 24, 2015, 12:55 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The return of “Zeus” means that Arizona will have one returning starter from last year’s 34-4 team.

  15. UPDATED: 2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too-Early Preseason Rankings

    Apr 24, 2015, 12:16 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The return of Buddy Hield pushes previously unranked Oklahoma into our way too early rankings.

  16. Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield returning for senior season

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:34 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year has some unfinished business to attend to next season.

  17. Kentucky forward Alex Poythress returning for senior season

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:15 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Poythress played in eight games before suffering a torn ACL in practice.

  18. Former Coppin State guard headed to Pittsburgh for final season

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Sterling Smith averaged 13.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game at Coppin State last season.

  19. Louisiana forward Shawn Long to return for senior season

    Apr 23, 2015, 9:22 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Long averaged a double-double for the third consecutive season in 2014-15. He’ll hang around to make a run at a fourth.