This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

A glance at the road ahead

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball Updated: February 14, 2012 - 2:10 PM

 

The Buckeyes are used to having the last laugh.

The Buckeyes are used to having the last laugh.

 

It’s not going to be easy for the Gophers going forward, and we all know that. The biggest question is: How feasible is it for the Gophers, at 5-7, to rally for a strong finish in the Big Ten's final six regular-season games?

A breakdown each future matchup:

Ohio State at home. Yikes. Need I say more? I don’t care what building the Buckeyes are in, they’re the favorites. Can the Gophers harness the close loss to Wisconsin to at least play well or is the missed opportunity an ego buster?

Northwestern on the road. A couple of weeks ago, I’d say no problem, but recently the Wildcats have given me cause for concern. They’ve won three straight now – over Nebraska, Illinois and Iowa – and the win against Michigan State has not been forgotten. Win or lose, the Gophers will definitely have a tougher time than their last Northwestern game, a 23-point win at Williams Arena.

Michigan State at home. The Gophers struggled mightily against the Spartans and their physicality in East Lansing. It won’t be much easier at Williams. Can the Gophers stage a rally?

Indiana at home. Minnesota has shown they can beat this team – and at Assembly Hall, one of the toughest places to play. Doing it again would enhance their NCAA tournament credentials. The Hoosier might be the most beatable ranked team left on the schedule.

Wisconsin on the road. The Badgers gave the Gophers trouble at home and there won’t be so many surprises from a young team whose leading scorer ended up being freshman reserve Andre Hollins. Kohl Center is a tough, tough arena.

Nebraska at home. The Huskers don’t have the talent to match up with the Gophers right now, and this one should be a victory. Whether it will matter at that point is the question.

If the Gophers want to end at .500, they will need to win four of these, the most likely being Northwestern, Michigan Sate, Indiana and Nebraska. But the first three of those will be especially tough.

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