What a difference a week and a half can make, huh?
At 15-1 overall and 3-0 within the Big Ten Conference, head coach Tubby Smith had his Minnesota Golden Gophers playing well and looking good. In fact, the Gophers turned that successful started into a top ten ranking earlier this month.
Well, Minnesota has now run straight into a wall, as the conference schedule has shown its wrath at the Golden Gophers’ expense. Following a road loss to Northwestern on Wednesday night, Minnesota now sits at 15-4 overall and 3-3 within the league. Yes, that would equal three consecutive losses for the Gophers since that incredible start through the first 16 games of the year.
Now, despite their recent struggles the negative attention should be on pause because although the game against Northwestern was one that they needed to come away with to stop the bleeding, the difficulty in this current stretch shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Prior to Wednesday night, Minnesota had dropped back-to-back games against both Indiana and Michigan, the two squads that are widely considered to amongst the favorites in the conference. Although Michigan State, who currently sits at 6-1 in the Big Ten, may have something to say about that. As too could Ohio State or even this Minnesota team.
See, that just goes to prove the difficulty of the Big Ten and its schedule.
Long story short however, Minnesota must once again regroup and look to right the ship. A trip to Wisconsin on Saturday could be another wake-up call for the Golden Gophers, as both teams will be in search of a win. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00pm (EST).
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS