With Seasons on Line, Gophers Walking Into Sleeping Ohio State Giant Tonight

Photo: Associated Press

The Gophers have had 4 days to swallow their loss to Rutgers on Sunday, and prepare for tonight’s matchup vs Ohio State, in Columbus. Hopefully 3 days of practice helped Pitino’s squad get their minds right. I’m not sure how much it will matter though, because we are walking into a sleeping-giant-mystery tonight…. and it makes me nervous af.

Ohio State has been bad lately. They’ve lost 5 of their last 6 games and had to suspend two guys, which resulted in their only victory during this stretch (vs NEB). But when those suspended guys returned on Saturday, OSU got destroyed in Penn State. Now, they head back home to face the Gophers.

This game looks make-or-break for OSU. They’d love to join the rest of the Big Ten, in blaming their woes on road games, but they lost to Wisconsin at home, earlier in this skid. They’ve fallen out of the Top-25, and a loss at home to the 10-8 Gophers could spell doom on a season that once had them battling for the #1 spot in the country.

So, how much punch does (arguably) the most talented team in the Big Ten have? They haven’t played since Saturday and I’m sure they are aware of their backs inching dangerously close to that “wall” everyone talks about. How hard are they going to hit as they try to punch their way away from it? How ready are the Gophers, to hit them back when they do?

I’m worried we are going to get some ravage and desperate Buckeyes tonight. The Gophers can hang with OSU, even when they are rolling… but on the road, they’d have to be firing from all cylinders. That means, Dan gets back to his dominant self, after having his worst game of the year in Rutgers on Sunday, mostly due to a slow start.

All of the outside shooters would need to be hitting, too. That includes Gabe Kalscheur, who started hot on Sunday but then wasn’t heard from after the 10-minute mark in the 1st half… And, Marcus Carr would have to be dominant, without being careless. The entire team would need to avoid fouls trouble too… because our depth is troubling.

When all of that is clicking for the Gophers, though, they can hang with anyone in the league.

But we haven’t seen that yet this season, on the road. In fact, the Gophers are yet to win a true road game all year, let alone a Big Ten game in Columbus. If we see the same passive and struggling Buckeyes that have been strolling around the Big Ten for the last couple of weeks, we’ll win. The Gophers will be more ready than that and I believe they are hungry to get this road monkey off their back.

But, if the sleeping giant #1 overall Ohio State Buckeyes make a re-emergence tonight, in Columbus…. Richard & Co should be ready for (KG style) war.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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