Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Minnesota's huge advantage over UCLA
By Joe Kaiser
Minnesota is a No. 11 seed playing No. 6 seed UCLA on Friday, but the Golden Gophers will have a huge advantage in one key area when the teams play in their NCAA tournament opener.
That area is rebounding, particularly on the offensive glass.
The Golden Gophers are the best offensive rebounding team in the country, pulling down 44.3 percent of their own misses according to KenPom.com, and that could be a real big problem for an undersized Bruins team that goes only six deep.
UCLA is going to have their work cut out for them on the glass, and it's going to come down to freshmen Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad as well as junior forwards Travis and David Wear making a concerted effort to go after the ball. That hasn't been their strong suit this season, and it's questionable how well they'll be able to contend with Gophers' senior Trevor Mbakwe in the paint.
The Bruins ranked 97th in the nation with 36.3 rebounds per game this season, and may have to rely on little-used freshman Tony Parker to help in the paint if the Gophers' rebounding edge proves too great.