MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Get your brackets ready because March Madness is about to officially get underway.
On Thursday, the Men’s Golden Gopher Basketball team will face the Louisville Cardinals in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The game tips off at 11:15 a.m on WCCO-TV.
The 10th seeded Gophers are considered the underdog to the 7th seed Louisville, but both teams are pretty evenly matched.
Our very own Mike Max broke down the 4 Keys To Success for the Gopher’s to come out on top:
1.) Amir Coffey has to score 20 or more points.
The 6’8 Junior from Hopkins, Minnesota has been an undeniable powerhouse for his team. In the last five out of six games, Coffey has scored more than 20 points.
Basketball runs deep in this Minnesota native’s blood, his father was a member of 1986-90 Gopher Basketball team and went on to play professionally in the NBA for the Timberwolves.
Hopefully, Coffey can continue his hot streak on Thursday when his team takes the big stage.
2.) Jordan Murphy can’t chase. Louisville will try to run him outside and make him guard guards. If he gets tired, he gets in foul trouble.
The 6’7 Senior from San Antonio, Texas has had an incredible four years at the U.
Last year, Murphy led the nation and set a new single-season school record with 24 double-doubles. He was also selected for the All-Big Ten Second team for the second straight year.
This season, he’s scored nearly 15 points a game and has recorded a total of 96 personal fouls.
3.) Deny the three. The Gophers dress rehearsal was against Michigan and they failed. It’s the same style they will see from Louisville, did they learn?
Michigan made nearly 40 percent of their three-pointers last week against the Gophers. In order for Minnesota to stay in the game on Thursday, they need to block those shots.
4.) Louisville is vulnerable — a new coach and several new players mean they lack identity. Get after them early, make them question who they are.
The game is to be held at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
If the Gophers win, they’ll go on to face either Big 10 rival Michigan State or Bradley.