The Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s basketball program has done research to assess how intimidating this current challenge of the Big Ten game has been.
“This is the toughest streak in Gopher basketball history,” head coach Richard Pitino said on his KFAN radio show on Tuesday. “No one has played so many ranked opponents in a row. We looked back. … In college basketball, this has not happened since 2011. “
Minnesota are near the end of seven straight games against ranked opponents, a difficult streak that will end when the Michigan No.7 heads to Williams Arena for a 1 p.m. warning on Saturday.
This is the most consecutive games against ranked teams since St. John’s played eight straight games in 2011, Minnesota said. So the school billed it as “the hardest part of college basketball in the past 10 years.”
Minnesota have gone 3-3 so far, and the undefeated Wolverines are the toughest test of the conference right now. They led Wisconsin’s No.9 by 40 points on Tuesday and earned a 77-54 victory.
The Gophers trailed Michigan by 37 points at Ann Arbor in an 82-57 loss a week ago. Next, Minnesota lost 86-71 to No.5 Iowa on Sunday. But since those two losses were suffered by Top 10 teams, Minnesota retained its own top 25 ranking, placing 24th in the Associated Press poll on Monday.
The current stretch of the Gophers is even more difficult if you look forward. They beat St. Louis, 90-82 on December 20, when Billikens was unranked, but they now check in at No.23. A game before that, the Minnesota Big Ten’s game opener was against now – no. 14 Illinois.
Minnesota had its longest non-game layoff this week this season, and Pitino gave his players three days off to recharge for the last 13 games of the regular season. After the Wolverines game, the Gophers have only one ranked opponent on their remaining schedule, February 20 against the Illini.
The Gophers, however, could face a similar layoff next week. Their game against Nebraska in Lincoln next Wednesday is in doubt as the Cornhuskers have gone out of business due to positive COVID-19 cases. They postponed Wednesday’s game against the Illini and Saturday’s game against Maryland.
“At this time,” Nebraska said Tuesday, “no decision has been made on the impact of the break on games scheduled beyond Jan. 16.”