The Big Ten schedule is brutal – there is no denying that.
Michigan held the title for the nation’s final undefeated team for a little over 24 hours this past weekend, but that mark quickly vanished after a road loss to Ohio State. Now, following their first dropped contest of the season, the Wolverines must get back on the saddle and tighten up for another, pivotal conference road game.
Just days after losing to the Buckeyes, Michigan now hits the road to Minnesota on Thursday night in a match-up that pins two top-ten opponents against each other. The Golden Gophers’ success this season has hinged plenty of discussion about their hype and simply over whether or not head coach Tubby Smith has his most talented team since 2004 at Kentucky.
So either way, let’s put this into perspective for the Wolverines – after beginning the season at 16-0, they now face a daunting challenge on the road at a top-ten opponent, looking to avoid back-to-back losses.
That right there says a lot about the Big Ten Conference and its supremacy atop college basketball this season.
The key to victory for Michigan however, is going to be their ability to score the basketball. They enter the contest with the 13th-best scoring offense in the country, but were limited to only 53 total in their loss at Ohio State. Minnesota, like many teams in the Big Ten, will look to jam things up and make opponents work on each possession.
Trey Burke will lead the charge in the back court, but head coach John Beilein must look to try and take advantage of missed baskets in transition. Can the Wolverines get out and run against Minnesota? That could end up telling the story when all is said and done.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00pm (EST) on Thursday.
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