On paper, tonight's game between the Gophers and No. 1 ranked Indiana is a mismatch. The Hoosiers dominate Big Ten statistics and have been on a great roll lately behind Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller.
Indiana can be challenged, though, as the Gophers showed with a furious second-half January comeback in Bloomington that fell just short. That was the last sustained stretch of excellent basketball against a good team by Minnesota. What's to say the Gophers can do it again? Well, what's to say they can't. Illinois was reeling before a sudden victory over the Hoosiers saved their season. Why not Minnesota? The formula is basically the one Iowa State used to nearly defeat Kansas last night, a game the Cyclones should have won at home:
1) Shoot lights-out.
2) Keep the crowd engaged the entire game.
3) Play with confidence.
4) Counter every Indiana burst with a big possession.
Short of a victory, what most fans are hoping to see tonight is, at least, a flicker of the team they saw in December and January when the Gophers built a 15-1 record. Another dim performance could mean the light won't ever come back on.