clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Minnesota Basketball: Previewing Indiana

New, 4 comments

With their cushion eliminated, Gophers now have little room for error

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not going to get into the details of the Nebraska loss. There’s no going back. What’s more troubling is that it happened. The Gophers, in desperate need of a quality win after three straight losses, missed a huge opportunity to take down a vulnerable Huskers team and improve their tournament resume. And now they’re completely backpedaling.

What does that mean? Well, they have little to no room for error now. They have to win three of their final six games. They have to pick up a win against Indiana on Saturday. If they don’t beat Northwestern and Rutgers on the road (where they are 1-7) they have to beat Purdue or Michigan. These are not easy things to do, and now they’re mandatory.

They put themselves in this position, and now it’s time to put up or shut up. The pundits still have this team as IN when it comes to the tournament (the bubble is VERY weak this year). But that also assumes that they can pick up a few wins down the stretch. These days that’s looking like a tall order.

Essentials:

Who are the Gophers playing?

Indiana Hoosiers (4-9, 13-11)

What time are they playing?

Saturday, Feb. 16 @ 1 p.m. CT

Where are they playing?

Williams Arena

Can I watch the game on TV?

Yes, ESPN2.

Can I listen to the game on the radio?

Yes, KFAN 100.3-FM

Tell me more about the opponent.

Meet the Indiana Hoosiers. They are 4-9 in the Big Ten. They have lost nine of their last 10 games. They are in complete meltdown mode and coming off a two-game home losing streak. Sounds like a team that is ripe for a Minnesota victory, right? Ordinarily, I’d agree, but these days, when the Gophers are ending the losing streaks of opponents left and right, it’s hard to be optimistic. Nebraska (7), Illinois (5), Michigan State (3) have all ended losing their losing streaks against Minnesota this season. Could Indiana be next?

The Hoosiers are led by Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan, who are two of the top scorers in the conference. Langford, a freshman, has been particularly tough to stop recently and has been hitting his shots from deep. Morgan, a senior forward, has been a bit more erratic, scoring in single digits in two of his last three games, though he’s been rebounding very well.

Indiana has strong KenPom peripherals for a team that has lost almost 10 games in a row, sitting at #45, mostly because they’ve been playing strong defense. Offensively, they’re nothing special, turning the ball over at a solid clip and shooting pretty poorly from deep. Sound familiar?

The Hoosiers are capable of beating good teams, though. Their one win in the past 10 games came on the road against Michigan State. Go figure.

Predictions

It’s a dark time for the Gophers, who have got to be looking in the mirror as they head into a do-or-die contest against Indiana. Win and the ship is righted for at least a few more days. Lose and their path to the tournament gets significantly more difficult.

Will the team come out with a fire lit under them, or was a heartbreaking loss on the road a veritable backbreaker? Color me pessimistic these days. I’m taking the Hoosiers by 5, who have nothing to lose these days.