The Minnesota Golden Gophers and Indiana Hoosiers may not be entirely comfortable with the surroundings when they hook up on Wednesday night for a Big Ten game in Bloomington, Ind.
The reason that’s the case is that Minnesota has been awful on the road, while Indiana hasn’t been good at home.
The Golden Gophers (13-8, 6-8 Big Ten) enter the contest 0-7 this season away from their Williams Arena home, the latest setback on the road being a 72-59 loss at Maryland on Sunday that prevented Minnesota from winning three games in a row.
Of those seven road losses, six of them have been by double-digits.
If there was a silver lining for Minnesota against Maryland, it was the play of freshman Jamal Mashburn, Jr. and sophomores Isaiah Ihnen and Tre Williams, who combined for 36 points to help compensate for a group of veterans who struggled or were hobbled by injuries.
The most notable of those injuries is to center Liam Robbins, who has been limited by an ankle injury, and guard Both Gach, who has been bothered by a foot injury.
“Injuries happen and not making shots happen,” Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino said. “Everybody has to be ready to go. Those guys stepped up and made some really big plays. We didn’t win, but hopefully that can build some confidence for those young guys.”
Playing at Indiana might give Minnesota some hopes of curing its road woes, given the Hoosiers are just 5-4 at home this season.
Indiana (11-9, 6-7 Big Ten) is coming off a 78-59 loss at No. 4 Ohio State on Saturday, a game that saw the Hoosiers fall behind 21-6 to start.
Slow starts are a problem Indiana coach Archie Miller is fully aware of, considering Indiana fell behind 21-7 at Northwestern in its previous game before the Ohio State loss.
“We definitely have a major starting problem,” Miller said. “We have been down big here recently in our starts. It’s been hard. Our offense at the start of games has had problems keeping pace. Our starts are hurting us. I think a lot of it has to do with the easy baskets we are not converting.”
The winner of the game should get a boost for its NCAA Tournament resume.
As of Monday, Indiana was No. 51 in the NET rankings, while Minnesota was No. 53.
–Field Level Media