Here’s the four factor analysis tool with data through games of 01/10/08. It’s preloaded with Minnesota vs Penn State but by following directions in the legend you can compare any of the teams that you would like.
Minnesota has the edge in offensive and defensive efficiency, causing turnovers, and free throw efficiency (getting fouled and making free throws).
Penn State has the edge in offensive and defensive rebounding, preventing turnovers, and free throw defense (i.e. not fouling the opponents when they are shooting).
The logical questions that follow are can Penn State negate Minnesota’s efficiency numbers through rebounding by minimizing the number of attempts that the Gophers at the same time they increase their own shot attempts. The other key to the game will be who wins the turnover battle – the irresistible force trying to create them (Minn) or the immovable object trying to avoid them (PSU).
Also, while Minnesota owns the free throw advantage Penn State has shown some signs in their B10 games that they have gotten past the shooting woes that plagued them during non-conference play (OOC FT % = 59.5%, B10 play = 73.5%) while Minnesota has continued to shoot in the low 60’s. If PSU can continue to shoot their free throws they should win the battle from the charity stripe, particularly since they will be the home team.
These teams match up so evenly that I’m going to predict that this becomes the first game of ours this year that truly comes down to free throw shooting. I say if PSU can shoot above 70% for the game from the stripe, they win.