Northwestern Eyes Another Road Win at Minnesota

Photo: Mary Langenfeld | USA Today Sports
Photo: Mary Langenfeld | USA Today Sports
Photo: Mary Langenfeld | USA Today Sports

Northwestern (11-11, 4-5 Big Ten) ends its road trip Saturday afternoon at Minnesota (15-6, 4-4). The Wildcats upset No. 14 Wisconsin their last time out and have won three of their last four games.

Minnesota sits tied for fourth place with Wisconsin in the Big Ten, and Northwestern sits only a half-game behind in sixth.

The Golden Gophers also knocked off the Badgers two games ago, but their last time out their lost at Nebraska, 82-78.

Minnesota is led by a dynamic, four-man backcourt.

Junior Andre Hollins and senior Austin Hollins lead the team in scoring.

Andre Hollins likely will not play, though, Saturday. He sprained his left ankle early in the game against Wisconsin and missed Minnesota’s last game at Nebraska.

Andre averages 15.5 points per game to rank No. 10 in the Big Ten. He is a three-point threat at 35.9% and has scored as many as 26 points in a game this season.

Austin Hollins averages 11.7 points and he rebounds extremely well for a guard with 6.3 boards per contest. However, he has struggled to score in Big Ten play, averaging 8.8 points on 35.8% shooting.

Junior guard Deandre Mathieu and senior guard Malik Smith have stepped up in Andre Hollins’ absence. In the last two games, Mathieu is averaging 15.5 points, and Smith is averaging 21.5 points. Against Nebraska, Smith made eight three-pointers and scored 29 points.

All season, Mathieu has been one of the more underrated guards in major college basketball. He is averaging 11.6 points and 4.3 assists while shooting better than 50% from the field.

Up front, Minnesota does not have one dominant big man. The Golden Gophers have a handful of capable forwards instead.

Junior Elliott Eliason has been the most dominant force in their frontcourt. He averages team-highs of 8.2 points and 2.5 blocks, and he also scored 6.4 points per outing.

Junior Oto Osenieks leads the frontcourt in scoring with 7.0 points per game.

Sophomore Joey King and junior Maurice Walker also provide consistent contributions.

Opening tip at Williams Arena is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT.

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