With three Big Ten victories over their first seven games in league play, the Minnesota Golden Gophers have already surpassed last season's conference wins total. But, reeling after three straight losses, the Gophers desperately need a win at home to get their 2023-24 campaign back on track.
Unfortunately, standing in their way of that much-needed win is a familiar foe - the Wisconsin Badgers. Off to a flaming hot start through the early stretch of Big Ten action at 6-1, the Badgers responded to their first conference loss of the year last week with a 91-point outburst in a win over Indiana on Friday.
Facing off against the Badgers is undoubtedly a major challenge for a young Gopher team, even if they do have the advantage of getting the Badgers on the raised hardwood of Williams Arena. Wisconsin not only enters the matchup with a clear edge in momentum, they have absolutely owned the rivalry in recent years, with six straight victories extending back to the COVID-shortened 2019-20 campaign.
Still, you can never be too sure in these types of rivalry games, and the "Border Battle" is no different. It feels like every time these two teams play things end up going down to the wire, and the intensity and energy should be kicked into high gear now that both programs have something to play for. Minnesota may be the home underdog, but Ben Johnson's club certainly has a chance for an upset - assuming they can learn from their last three losses and take the necessary steps to correct them on Tuesday night.