Head coach Dan Monson thought his team was starting to "get it" defensively.
But after Iowa walked into Minnesota and waxed the Gophers 83-68, Monson could see that his team had not really learned anything on the defensive end. That point was driven home later in the week when Ohio State defeated Minnesota 73-62. The win was Ohio State's first over a Big Ten opponent this season.
Minnesota is still looking for its first conference win.
"That's pathetic," Gophers forward Michael Bauer said. "This team has too much talent for us to not to be playing together. For us to be dead last is pathetic."
Prior to the loss at Ohio State, the Gophers arrived in Columbus a day early in order to build team chemistry. In the short run, that move paid no dividends.
Minnesota shot 39 percent from the field and scored just six points in the final nine minutes of the first half.
"We're just the textbook team that's struggling right now," Monson said.
"We're just not, obviously, playing on all cylinders. Our offense is putting so much onus on our defense, and then we'll hit a couple of shots and our defense will put a lot of onus on our offense to score.
"We just don't have any time where we score three or four times and then get three or four stops at the same time. It's really hard to play like that."
The Gophers face an extremely difficult road. They travel to Purdue and host an Indiana team that is starting to find its rhythm.
With losses to Iowa and Ohio State, the Gophers are off to their worst start since the 1998 team went 7-10 overall and lost its first six Big Ten games.
— Minnesota thinks of itself as a team that can play offense with anyone in the Big Ten. However, Minnesota shot just 22-of-56 from the field against Ohio State.
— The Gophers have seen their scoring average fall to 74.4 ppg this season.
PROBABLE LINEUP: Forward Kris Humphries, forward Stan Gaines, guard Moe Hargrow, guard Ben Johnson, guard Adam Boone.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This team has to take it upon themselves and just say this isn't going to happen any more. Right now it's almost like there's a feeling that guys are all right with this and this kind of performance isn't necessarily what they want, but tolerable. — Forward Michael Bauer on the Gophers' seeming acceptance of their recent poor play.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
UPCOMING GAMES: at Purdue, Jan. 21; vs. Indiana, Jan. 24
KEYS: This could be a disastrous week for the Gophers. Purdue defends its home court very well and doesn't let lesser opponents off the hook. After a halting start, Indiana has won two Big Ten games in a row and is not likely to come with less than its best effort in a very winnable road game.
Gophers' frustration showing
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