The Gophers head to Bloomington in their quest to now rack up enough wins to qualify for the NIT. For those keeping track at home the Gophers need to finish with at least a .500 record to be considered for the NIT field. At 13-15 one more loss means they would need to win four games to finish out the season to end at 17-17, assuming they don’t win the Big Ten Tournament outright.
What does that mean? Don’t lose to Indiana, which might be a tall order considering the team’s recent skid. They’ve battled and lost close games now to Iowa, Indiana, Maryland and Wisconsin, which has completely undermined any hope for an at-large bid. The only destiny they now control is their quest to finish with a winning record.
It’s final road game for the Gophers, with just two games left. Indiana has faced its own struggles, so it’s not like they’re a tough out. But with the way Minnesota is playing these days there’s hardly any room for optimism.
Indiana Hoosiers (8-10, 18-11)
Date and Time:
Wednesday, March 4 @ 6 p.m. CT
Assembly Hall (Bloomington, IN)
Tell me more about the opponent.
The Gophers had the game in hand when these two teams most recently met a couple weeks ago in Minneapolis, but as the Minnesota is wont to do, they fell apart late in the second half and handed a winnable game to the Hoosiers. That’s become the team’s M.O. in the latter half of this season.
Indiana remains as beatable as ever. They have lost two games in a row and seven of their last 10 but are still hanging on in the bubble conversation and can probably cement their inclusion in the NCAA Tournament with a win over Minnesota. They will be highly motivated to do so.
Trayce Jackson-Davis dominated the Gophers in that game and is playing some good ball this season. He is a five-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week and leads the team with 13.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He holds the freshman lead in scoring among Big Ten players, as well as field goal percentage and blocks while ranking seventh in rebounding among first-year B1G players.
Indiana leads the Big Ten and ranks 28th in the country in free throw attempts.
The Hoosiers are hungry to lock this one up, but the Gophers showed more heart than I thought they would on the road against Wisconsin. Still, it’s hard to argue with recent results and I’ll take Indiana by three in this one.