Busting Brackets

Minnesota Basketball: 3 keys to beat Wisconsin in Border Battle rivalry

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1.) Play fast, but under control

Surprise, surprise, this is a Wisconsin team that loves to take their time offensively. Greg Gard has become a mastermind at slowing things down and using every single possession, a formula that hasn't changed so far in 2023-24. The Badgers are 333rd in the country in possessions per game, at 67.1, but they've been more efficient with those possessions this year, improving their scoring average to over 76 points per contest.

If you're Minnesota, you have to find a way to get this Badger team out of their comfort zone and speed them up. And the good news is that the roster is built to do so - transfer guards Elijah Hawkins and Mike Mitchell Jr. thrive in transition, and forward Dawson Garcia is one of the best end-to-end bigs in the Big Ten. They are going to need to look to run at every opportunity, which should also get them easy looks against a stifling Wisconsin defense.

Now, with that comes the element of playing under control, which has often been a challenge for Johnson-coached Gopher teams. This team can run all night long, but they can't get sloppy and start forcing passes or contested three-pointers. Turnovers have been a real killer for them over their last three games, including 19 against Michigan State, and the Badgers are the type of team that will take advantage of them.

This also comes with a bit of a caveat, assuming Hawkins is back and ready to go after missing the last time out against the Spartans. His status remains unclear ahead of Tuesday night, and it feels like a game time decision for the veteran guard. If he can't go, the Gophers are robbed of their top playmaker and best weapon in getting them down the court and scoring easy baskets.