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Men’s basketball preview: Gophers with one more chance to grab a road win

Let the lame duck session begin!

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Life comes at you fast, eh? One day you’re losing to Middle Tennessee State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and the next ... poof. No more job.

I guess that’s basically the situation for Richard Pitino right now at Minnesota. I really like the guy as a person and wish he would have succeeded here. But after losses to Northwestern and Nebraska, the calls for his ouster have become deafening in another disappointing year. Are we officially in a lame duck period? No. But it’s hard to see a path forward for him remaining the head coach after the season concludes.

Which brings us to this godforsaken season that still has at least three games remaining. Minnesota has the dubious distinction of not winning on the road this year, but still has one more chance against a very beatable and deflated Penn State team.

The Nittany Lions have lost five of their last six and ordinarily this would be a delicious matchup. Unfortunately, Liam Robbins is out again with a bum ankle and Gabe Kalscheur is still nursing a broken finger. And we know how this team performs without those two.

[screams into void]

Essentials:

Opponent:

Penn State Nittany Lions (8-13, 5-12)

Date and Time:

Wednesday, March 3 @ 6 p.m. CT

Location:

Bryce Jordan Center (University Park, PA)

TV:

BTN

Radio:

KFAN 100.3-FM

Tell me more about the opponent.

Who cares! It’s five guys who are collectively better than both Nebraska and Northwestern.

They will happily let the Gophers shoot 30 three pointers, run relatively effective pick and rolls to confuse the Minnesota defense, and do just enough to prevent the ball from entering the post to either Brandon Johnson or Eric Curry.

Thus is the secret to beating Minnesota these days.

Predictions

Only three more games before we’re done. Marcus Carr might score 40 points again in a loss. Can you handle the anticipation?

Penn State 79 | Minnesota 70