No. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Middle Tennessee Prediction, Game Preview

Minnesota vs. Middle Tennessee prediction and game preview, as the No. 5 Golden Gophers and No. 12 Blue Raiders face off in the NCAA Tournament.

What a turnaround for Minnesota, going from eight victories all of last season to a No. 5 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament. The Golden Gophers reward? Possibly the toughest double-digit seed in the entire Tournament – Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders are primed to pull off another upset after knocking off No. 2 seed Michigan State in last year’s first round.

Minnesota vs. Middle Tennessee Game Preview

Date: Thursday, March 16
Venue:  Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisc.

Minnesota Strengths

Minnesota has talent throughout its lineup. Coach Richard Pitino gets solid guard play from Nate Mason and Dupree McBrayer, has a slasher in freshman Amir Coffey, trots out a double-double machine in Jordan Murphy and gets an inside presence from Reggie Lynch. In a word, Minnesota is versatile.

Minnesota Weaknesses

The Gophers have lacked composure at times. For as good as Mason is, he can be erratic and take bad shots. They’ve also stumbled in the second half of games be have been better recently.

Minnesota Golden Gophers In-Depth Analysis

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Middle Tennessee Strengths

The Blue Raiders know what it takes to win in the Tournament as an underdog, and that’s dangerous for a higher-seeded team going up against them. They won as a No. 15 seed last year, knocking off Michigan State in the first round before falling to eventual Final Four participate Syracuse. Kermit Davis won’t need to make much of a pep talk to his team with returnees like Reggie Upshaw and Giddy Potts teaming up with Arkansas transfer Jacorey Williams, who leads 30-4 Middle Tennessee in scoring at 17.3 points per game. Potts dropped 30 points in the Conference USA title game against Marshall.

Middle Tennessee Weaknesses

Middle Tennessee can score with anyone in the country, but it is prone to getting into shootouts – and that might not be ideal against better competition that what it sees in C-USA. The Blue Raiders will need to have the same intensity at the defensive end as they do on the offensive side of the ball.

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders In-Depth Analysis

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Minnesota vs. Middle Tennessee By The Numbers

Minnesota Statistics

Scoring Margin: 6.6 (67th in the nation)
Rebounding Margin: 1.1 (148)
Turnover Margin: 1.2 (103)
3-Point FG Percentage: 34.7 (194)

Middle Tennessee Statistics

Scoring Margin: 11.7 (16)
Rebounding Margin: 5.1 (38)
Turnover Margin: 3.1 (23)
3-Point FG Percentage: 36.8 (91)

Minnesota vs. Middle Tennessee Prediction

The Blue Raiders do it again. Jacorey Williams puts up 20 points, Reggie Upshaw has a double-double and Middle Tennessee shocks the Golden Gophers and moves on.

Minnesota vs. Middle Tennessee Score Prediction: Middle Tennessee 83, Minnesota 78

MORE: Complete NCAA Tournament Bracket, Previews, Predictions