Ladies and gentlemen, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are officially on a winning streak. The Gophers got revenge (and a much-needed win) against Purdue at home on Thursday, using some late-game Marcus Carr heroics to erase a late deficit and eke out a win. Not only was it yet another home win against a ranked team, but it was another quad-1 victory for Minnesota who is looking to rack up quality wins and make Selection Sunday less stressful.
Minnesota got back on track after losing by 19 to Purdue just a few games ago, and showing that they can still beat quality teams. It wasn’t necessarily pretty. After all, it took a show-stopping three-pointer late in the game to put the Gophers in the win column. But a win is a win at the end of the day. Maybe they are turning a small corner. Even Gabe Kalschuer had a bit of a breakout!
The one thing they haven’t done yet this season is win away from home. At Williams Arena the Gophers are nearly unbeatable. On the road? They are 0-6 and have only kept the deficit in those games under 12 points just once. They have been a different team on the road.
Next up is Maryland. The Terrapins dealt the Gophers their only home loss of the season five games ago, and it wasn’t close. Minnesota was wholly unprepared for the Terps’ aggressive defense and scored only 49 points in what was arguably their ugliest loss of the season.
Maryland Terrapins (10-10, 4-9)
Date and Time:
Sunday, Feb. 14 @ 6 p.m. CT
Xfinity Center (College Park, MD)
Tell me more about the opponent.
Maryland’s resume is fairly unusual. The Terps sit near the bottom of the conference at 4-9, but three of those wins have come on the road against the likes of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. Not exactly the slouches of the conference there. At home, however, they are just 2-5 and have lost four of their last six overall.
The Terps confused Minnesota in their last go around with their length and aggressive defense. They forced Minnesota into a putrid 30% from the field and only Marcus Carr was able to score in double figures. Erick Ayala stole the show, scoring 21 points.
But since then, Maryland has lost three of four and haven’t looked great on offense. Ayala still leads the way with 14.3 ppg. Aaron Wiggins (12.5) and Donta Scott (12.4) also check in with double figures. Scott nabbed a double-double against Minnesota last go around, but has been fairly quiet since.
Maryland still hangs it hat on slowing the game down and letting the defense do the work, which could again be a problem for Minnesota, who likes to push the tempo. They are not a great offensive rebounding team, but they do tend to win the overall rebounding battle.
Like Purdue, I expect Minnesota to be better prepared for this second date with the Terps, since it was an unmitigated disaster last time. Maryland is trending downward, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Gophers take advantage. However, keep in mind that this will be Minnesota’s third game in seven days. Does that bode well for their consistency or will they be worn out having just played three days prior?
I’ll take the Gophers in their first road win, 66-60.