Gophers’ Road Woes Mean Nothing Saturday But a Better Marcus Carr Means Everything

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All conversation surrounding the Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball program recently has been focused on the team’s stunning road woes. It started at #13 Illinois, where they hit their first 2020-21 speed bump.

Then, losses at #6 Wisconsin, #10 Michigan and #5 Iowa have piled up in the last couple of weeks, making Minnesota losers in three of their last four and 0-4 on the road this season. The formula for road losses has been pretty consistent.

Minnesota has trailed at halftime of all four games with combined halftime deficits of 26 points. The combined final deficits… 79 points. Yikes.

That includes a game at Wisconsin that was WAY worse in the 2nd half than what the final score shows. The Gophers trailed by 26 points that night, with just 8 minutes remaining.

Road LossHalftimeFinal Deficit

Back at home this weekend

Luckily, none of that matters Saturday at 1:00 PM, when the Michigan Wolverines will hit the Williams Arena raised hardwood. The Gophers’ story has been much different this season at The Barn.

How different? Richard Pitino’s Gophers are 10-0 at home and that record includes victories over Saint Louis, #4 Iowa, #17 Michigan State and #25 Ohio State.

At home during conference play, they control pace, they play aggressive and they hit a lot more shots. So I’m expecting to see the Minnesota Gophers put up a much better fight Saturday than they did vs Michigan last week.

Starts with Marcus Carr

If Minnesota is going to upset Michigan tomorrow at The Barn then Marcus Carr will have to be better than he’s been recently, especially in losing efforts.

After scoring 20 points in six of his first eight games, Marcus Carr has been held under that mark for SIX consecutive contests. Big Ten teams have decided that stopping Carr is the easiest avenue to success against the Gophers… and they’ve been right.

While playing on the road, teams have had success forcing Carr into a lot of bad outside jumpers, as opposed to getting into the lane and creating great opportunities for himself and for his teammates. The “getting into the lane part” is crucial for Carr’s success.

In their four losses, Marcus Carr is 16/61 (26%) from the floor and has only shot 14 total free throws, 10 of which came vs Illinois. He shot ZERO free throws in their last loss vs Iowa.

Even in their last home game vs Ohio State, Carr didn’t play up to his standards. He shot 3/12 from the floor and scored just SEVEN points off field goals. That night, however, Carr stayed aggressive and shot 11 free throws. He hit eight of them and the Gophers won big, 77-60.

Richard Pitino needs make sure he has plays called that aim to get Carr into the lane early and often. And Marcus needs to bring his A+ game. He’s been underwhelming for SIX straight games…

I thought this dude was trying to play in the NBA?

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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