Record: 16-13 (8-11)
KenPom Rank: 67
The Badgers are squarely on the bubble and every game they play matters. A loss to one of the worst P5 teams in the country would be a devastating blow to their tournament resume. Losing to the Gophers would certainly count as a Quad-Terrible loss and likely push them out.
This gives me a reason to live! Can the Gophers use some momentum from the Rutgers win to pull this off?
KEYS TO A GOPHER WIN
No Turnovers! - We turned the ball over nearly 30% of the time in the first matchup. It is really hard to score when you limit yourself like that. And yet this ended up being a 3-point final spread.
Contain Connor Essegian - The emerging freshman guard is really starting to establish himself as one of the keys to the Badger offense.
Play with some heart - I’m calling on the Minnesota pride to come through tonight. Incredibly subjective and un-quantifiable, but time to just play with more heart and toughness than those in the red uniforms who want to show-up in front of their friends and family at The Barn.
Obviously one cannot pick the Gophers with a straight face. But wouldn’t this win just make the entire season? Worth it? Not remotely. But what a fun way to at least get something out of this lost season.
So...I’m calling it a win. Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia score at will, while Pharrel Payne plays great deufense on Stephen Crowl. The Gophers win the most exciting game of the season, they build some momentum into the Big Ten Tournament, and most importantly, the win knocks Wisconsin out of the NCAA Tournament.
Minnesota - 72
Wisconsin - 68