The Gophers still have a shiny 19-6 mark, including 7-6 in league play. But they have now lost five of eight because they can't get into their offense, putting points at a premium.
Counting a discouraging 68-63 loss at Penn State on Sunday, the Gophers have registered more turnovers than assists in four consecutive games. All that went right throughout the nonconference portion of the schedule and the first turn through the Big Ten has all fallen apart on Minnesota. The Gophers beat Penn State, for example, by 20 points on Jan. 11.
"I thought we had a pretty good ball-handling team," Gophers coach Tubby Smith said. "Obviously we don't."
Over the last four games — three of which were losses — the Gophers have 41 assists and 66 turnovers.
They are running out of time to get things turned around. The Gophers have five games to play, beginning Thursday at Michigan. Only two of the games are against teams with winning records in the Big Ten (Illinois and Wisconsin), but Michigan is just a game behind the Gophers in the standings and Northwestern has proven capable of beating better teams this season.
In all, the Gophers have plenty of work to do to pretty up what once was a glowing postseason resume.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters — G Lawrence Westbrook, G Al Nolen, F Damian Johnson, F Ralph Sampson III, C Colton Iverson. Key Subs — G Blake Hoffarber, F Paul Carter, F Jamal Abu-Shamala, G/F Travis Busch, G Devoe Joseph, G Devron Bostick.
Ohio State 64, Minnesota 58
Minnesota 62, Indiana 54
Penn State 68, Minnesota 63
at Michigan, Thursday, Feb. 19
vs. Northwestern, Sunday, Feb. 22
at Illinois, Wednesday, Feb. 26