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Men’s basketball preview: Gophers look to break funk against Rutgers

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Can we please get a road win?

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

EMBRACE YOUR DESTINY

Remember how the schedule was supposed to “ease up”? Well, this is how things go against non-top 25 teams in 2021, folks. Meanwhile the Gophers now head out on the road again to a gym they haven’t won in since 2017. Oh, and it’s February, a traditionally amazing month where Minnesota always plays super well (NOT!). Unfortunately the only teams the Gophers appear to be able to beat are ranked ones at home. And there are only two of those games left!

Welcome to the Terrordome.

Essentials:

Opponent:

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (10-6, 6-6)

Date and Time:

Thursday, Feb. 4 @ 8 p.m. CT

Location:

The RAC (Piscataway, NJ)

TV:

FS1

Radio:

103.5 KTLK-FM

Tell me more about the opponent.

Rutgers started off the season hot, winning its first six games before dropping six of its next seven. That’s quite a skid. Now they are back on track and on a three-game winning streak. Hey, at least they are proving that it’s possible to turn things around! Take note!

Ron Harper Jr. was a terror for the Knights to begin the season. He has cooled off lately but is still a dangerous, dynamic player. Averaging 17 ppg and 6 rpg per game he is extremely tough to guard, but hopefully Gabe Kalscheur can shut him down.

Their defense has been fantastic this season, and just two games ago they held Michigan State to just 37 points on just 28% shooting. Luckily for us the Gophers are a great shooting team and will have no trouble with a defense that is in the top 100 in opponent eFG%.

If there’s a saving grace it’s that the Knights have already lost three times at home this year, so they’re hardly unbeatable there. Of course, the Gophers have yet to win away from home, so .. ya know.

Predictions

The Gophers desperately need to get back on track with a win. Combined with their road struggles this year, their struggles the past few games and playing in a gym they haven’t been great in recently it’s not looking good. The last time they lost by less than 12 points on the road was last season.

Rutgers by 13. Put the sharp objects away.