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Minnesota Basketball Loses to Nebraska 84-59

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Minnesota has back to back 20+ point losses for the first time since the Tubby Smith Era.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota lost to Nebraska 84-59 in Lincoln. The Gophers are now 0-5 in Big Ten play and 6-11 on the season. They have lost six games in a row. Nebraska improves to 10-8 with the win. The Four Factors are below

School Pace eFG% TO% OR% FTA/FGA ORtg
Minnesota 69 44.1 21.4 20.7 .275 85.5
Nebraska 69 56 15.9 53.8 328 121.7

Minnesota lost every single one of the factors. In my preview I noted the the Gophers needed to defend the three, not commit turnovers, and attack the basket. They accomplished none of those. An 85.5 Offensive Rating is almost identical to the performance against Northwestern. Minnesota has shot an eFG% below 50% in nine of their last 10 games. I have not yet had time to go back and look, but I'm comfortable in saying this is on pace for a historically bad year shooting the ball. The Gophers started 0-14 from deep and finished 3-17 from behind the line. The three makes were in garbage time against walk-ons, so at least Minnesota can get open against the other team's deep bench.

In addition to not making shots, the Gophers turned the ball over one out of every five possessions. Jordan Murphy alone had three turnovers in the first five minutes. During the second half, Minnesota briefly decided to try playing basketball without using their hands. Bakary Konate dropped multiple post feeds and several other players nearly fell over trying to catch passes.

The defensive positioning was hideous. For reference, Minnesota's 2012-2013 squad was the greatest offensive rebounding team of all time. Nebraska's offensive rebounding rate was 10 points better than that team. The Gophers were at least a step late on almost every rotation. Teams do not grab over one out of every two missed shots if the defense is playing with energy.

In a curious case of historical amusement, the last time the Gophers lost two games in a row by 20 or more points was Tubby Smith's final year. The Gophers that year lost to Iowa and Ohio State by twenty points before upsetting number 1 ranked Indiana at Williams Arena. Smith was fired at the end of the year.

Minnesota's next game this season is against Indiana at Williams Arena on Saturday.

Since we're discussing historical facts here is another of interest. Minnesota last lost two conference games in a row by 25 or more points in 1988. The following two years the Gophers went to the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight with a player named Coffey in the starting line up.