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Minnesota Basketball: Previewing Rutgers

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Both teams have simultaneously everything and nothing to play for. And it's going to be epic.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The days go by and the latest Minnesota Gophers season looks more and more like a season of Survivor. Just today it was announced that the lone senior, Joey King, would miss the rest of the season due to a broken foot he suffered in the Wisconsin game. Not only is it a bummer for King, who won't be able to end his career in a more traditional way, but it leaves the severely understaffed Gophers even more depleted. They now have, count 'em, five scholarship players left on the roster. You can't make it up.

But it gets better. The opponent? The lowly Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who are trying their darndest to avoid becoming the worst B1G team of all time, and perhaps in the history of major college basketball. And here they are, with easily their best chance of the year to get in the win column and avoid being that historical footnote we all want them to be. You've got the blind playing the blind, and someone has to win. This game needs to be on CBS. America needs a taste of this narrative.

Provide Me the Essentials to View this Game

Who are the Gophers playing?

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

What time are they playing?

Noon CT

Where are they playing?

Lovely Piscataway, NJ

Can I watch the game on TV?

Yes, BTN.

Can I listen to the game on the radio?

Yes, 1500 ESPN.

Tell me more about the opponent

Not much has changed since we last checked in. Rutgers is still the worst Power 5 program in history. The last time they lost by fewer than nine points was when they lost by seven to Indiana on Dec. 30. That was 16 games ago. I can't even believe I just typed that.

KenPom has them ranked 306, which is simply asinine for a Power 5 school. They're preceded in the rankings by Robert Morris and followed by Florida Atlantic, for a bit of context. The next closest Power 5 school is Boston College at 247. Minnesota, the 8-21 Gophers, are 177. I don't mean to pile on, but holy crap, 306 is terrible.

A positive for the Scarlet Knights? They've recently added their best player, Corey Sanders, who brings with him a scoring average of 16 ppg. In his first game back from injury, he put up 19 points against Michigan State, so he should be a factor in this one.

And here's my favorite nugget, the Gophers are still favored by Vegas. For real, they're 1.5- or 2-point favorites depending on where you look. THEY HAVE FIVE SCHOLARSHIP PLAYERS AND A STACK OF TOWELS LEFT AND THEY'RE STILL FAVORED ON THE ROAD.

Why is no one covering this? This is the story of the season.

Predictions

I can't believe I'm saying this but I truthfully think the Gophers are going to win this one. On The Banks wouldn't even do a Q&A with us because they're so checked out, which should give you an idea of the type of environment this game will be played in. What's more, the Minnesota walk-ons should be fired up since they have a great chance to actually win a game where they'll play a major role. It could be the most notable thing they do in their careers (though Stephon Sharp looks destined for more PT). At this point, with the bad luck they've faced this year, all you can do is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and hit the hardwood.

  • Gophers win 76-68
  • Stephon Sharp with 18 points
  • Jordan Murphy double-double. This dude needs to e considered for All-Big Ten notoriety, or Freshman of the Year, or both.