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Minnesota Loses to Northwestern 72-66

Kill it with Fire.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota loses to Northwestern 72-66. With the loss, the Gophers fall to 5-8 in conference play. This is the second straight year that the Gophers have lost to Northwestern at home. Northwestern is an objectively bad basketball, which is exactly what Minnesota is at this point. Sure it was close at certain points, and with some different bounces the Gophers probably pull out a one possession game. In that way one could say that the Gophers were unlucky, but that would be a deeply foolish point of view. Minnesota lost another game because they failed to put together a coherent half court offense and giving up wide open three after wide open three on defense.

Simply put, the Gophers have turned back into a horrible defensive team. Minnesota has become embarrassingly unable to defend the three. The Indiana performance may have been able to be explained away, but not back to back. All five defenders are frequently underneath the logo on pick and rolls, clearly unwilling to communicate on screens, and consistently take bad angles going around picks. The communication even extended to not calling out a screen on Nate Mason that left him in a heap on the ground for several seconds. Bad angles apply to box outs and positioning for rebounds. The Gophers gave up far too many rebounds by being out of position to box out Wildcats.

Nate Mason led all Minnesota scorers with 15 points. Andre Hollins had a major off night from the field, going 3-10 from behind the arc and finishing with 12 points.

Minnesota next plays Wisconsin on Saturday. As a preview of the preview, Wisconsin is an elite offensive team that makes 3s, rebounds, and rarely makes mistakes. The Gophers might lose by 30.