Minnesota (5-2) at Chaminade (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 27, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lahaina Civic Center (2,400) -- Maui, Hawaii. Television: None. Home Record: Minnesota 4-0, Chaminade 2-0. Away Record: Minnesota 1-0, Chaminade 0-0. Neutral Record: Minnesota 0-2, Chaminade 0-2. Conference Record: Minnesota 0-0, Chaminade 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: After both the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Chaminade Silverswords lost their first two games of the Maui Invitational, the squads will meet for the very first time on Wednesday in the seventh-place game at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Minnesota had been winners of its first five games on the season prior to its arrival in Maui, but this event has not brought it good fortune as it dropped its opening-round matchup to Syracuse, 75-67, and followed that up with a 87-73 setback versus Arkansas in the consolation round. The Gophers actually held a five-point lead at intermission against the Hogs, but after shooting a lofty 65.5 percent from the floor in the first stanza, they dipped all the way to 31.3 percent over the final 20 minutes. Austin Hollins paced the effort with 17 points on 3-of-6 from 3-point range, while Malik Smith netted 15 points off the bench. Both Austin Hollins and DeAndre Mathieu scored 11 points in the setback, while Mathieu added six assists, five rebounds and two steals.
After winning its first two games of the season versus Western Oregon (82-73) and Saint Martin's (82-63), Chaminade had more than two weeks off before participating in this event, where it lost to a pair of nationally-ranked squads in Baylor (93-77) and Gonzaga (113-81). Simply put, the Silverswords had no chance against Gonzaga on Tuesday, as the Bulldogs shot just shy of 70 percent from the field. Chaminade still pieced together a strong offensive effort by shooting 26-of-61 from the floor and 21-of-25 from the foul line. Lee Bailey poured in 29 points, Tyree Harrison added 10, and Christopher Varidel netted just eight points a day removed from a 42-point outburst.
Even after their last two losing efforts, the Gophers are still scoring 10 points per game (77.1) more than they allow (67.1), and they also boast positive rebounding (+4.5) and turnover (+1.7) margins. Andre Hollins (17.0 ppg) is the top scorer, and while his field goal percentage is modest at best (.424), he has benefited from an outstanding start at the free-throw line (34- of-37). Austin Hollins (13.4 ppg) is the only other player to average in double figures, although Joey King, Mathieu and Smith all score between 9.1 and 9.5 per game. Mathieu is a well-rounded perimeter player with 38 steals and 15 assists, while Elliott Eliason (7.4 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 3.1 bpg) is a force in the paint.
Chaminade has impressed at the offensive end of the floor this season in scoring just shy of 81 points per game, but its issue is on the other end where it allows 85.5, and with all its points scored, it still shoots less than 42 percent from the field as a team. One bad game hasn't spoiled Varidel's fast start (26.7 ppg). Bailey's average jumped all the way up to 13.0 points per game following his 29-point effort against Gonzaga, after scoring a total of 23 points in the first three games. Kiran Shastri has also been solid with 8.3 points per game.
The Silverswords can breathe a sigh of relief that they'll finally face a team not among the national ranks in this event, but Minnesota is still a very good squad that outmatches Chaminade in every aspect of the game. Expect the Gophers to take their frustrations out in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Minnesota 93, Chaminade 77
11/27 10:40:28 ET