Wear not worried about Mbakwe

Minnesota ranks eighth in the country in rebounding margin. UCLA ranks 251st. On paper, it’s a tremendous advantage, and one reason the No. 11-seed Gophers are widely considered favorites over the sixth-seeded Bruins on Friday night.

But forward Travis Wear, who will be tasked with some low-post defensive duties, isn’t too worried about the opposition.

Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe is a 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward who led the Big Ten in rebounding. Wear said that the team had already been “battle-tested” against the big men in Pac-12, adding that he had more trouble against slower 7-footers such as Arizona State’s Jordan Bachynski and Washington’s Aziz N’Diaye.

Bachynski notched his only two 20-point games of the season against UCLA, while N’Diaye averaged 14 rebounds in his meetings.

Mbawke isn’t the same towering presence, but is quicker and more athletic. Wear said that as long as he pushed Mbakwe off the block, the all-conference player shouldn’t be be too much of a problem.

“It’s a better matchup for me,” Wear said. “He’s got some pounds on me, but as far as size goes, we’re pretty even. I might even have a little bit of an advantage. I’d much rather guard a guy with his style.”

Asked who Mbakwe compares to in the Pac-12, Wear picked Stanford’s Dwight Powell — minus the perimeter game. Powell averaged 19.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in his two games against UCLA.

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  • Marc

    Travis Wear talking?!? Jeeze, dude! Just go out there and rebound for once and do what the team needs to win.

    You ain’t all conference.

    Lets see how he (Travis) responds when he gets bulldozed over early in the game.

    • benzo

      Travis Wear is our 3rd leading scorer and has hit clutch shots/free throws multiple times this year so we need him for more than just defense. He’s not the most athletic player, but there’s truth to what he’s saying about the match up.

  • Hogsman

    Travis, you guys had better bring your A-game because Minnesota has beaten some very good teams this year, and without Jordan, you guys really are the underdogs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.lorber.90 Kenneth Lorber

    1 key everyone has forgotten its time for parker to show what hes got has the lower body strength to push these guys around will be his kind of game

  • Mark

    STOP TALKING ABOUT TONY EFFING PARKING. HE IS NOT A FACTOR THIS YEAR. HE IS AS USELESS AS I. HE MIGHT HAVE FUTURE POTENTIAL UNDER A BETTER COACH, BUT FOR NOW HE’S NOT WORTH MENTIONING. THE POPCORN VENDOR HAS AS MUCH RELEVANCY TO THIS GAME AS PARKER.

    • maze949

      Nice job, “Guest”/Mark.

  • Mark

    Please stop talking about Tony Parker. He’s a non-factor. The popcorn vendor has as much impact on this game as Parker.

  • disqus_9T0WbttUGT

    I don’t want the Bruins to lose.

    • Mark

      Yes you do. Howland needs to be fired.

      • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

        Real fans don’t cheer against their team.

        • Mark

          It’s for the greater good. Tonight’s implosion pushed it over the edge. Nothing good could have Coe from winning tonight.

        • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

          Other than … the Bruins winning.