Big Ten Basketball: 3 takeaways from Minnesota’s blowout loss at Northwestern

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Jamison Battle #10 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

An early Saturday contest on the road against Northwestern represented an opportunity for Minnesota to gain some much-needed momentum as they prepare for the second half of their Big Ten slate. The Wildcats did present a stiff challenge, entering the game 14-5 overall and 5-3 in the league, with a chance to move into second place in the Big Ten standings.

After a hot shooting start from the Gophers, the Wildcats nailed several big three-pointers to wrestle away the lead, and never looked back. They carried a 45-28 lead into halftime and kept Minnesota comfortably at bay through the second, coming out with an 81-61 victory in front of their home crowd.

The loss continues a frustrating campaign for the Golden Gophers, who are suffering through one of their most miserable seasons in recent program history. Sitting at 7-13 overall and 1-9 in the Big Ten, they are a distant last place and could be in store for their worst season since 2015-2016, when they went a measly 8-23 in Richard Pitino’s third season on campus.

Despite the struggles, the Gophers have shown signs of progress over the last several weeks and are hoping to get healthier. Dawson Garcia has missed their last two games, but is expected to return in short order, while there’s still hope Braeden Carrington will return from a leg injury before the end of the season. With those two slated for eventual returns and winnable games remaining on the upcoming schedule, Minnesota is hopeful to steal away a few more wins in the conference and set themselves up for a resurgent campaign in 2023-2024.

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