If Williams Arena were allowed to have fans this year, there might've been a few court stormings and sellout crowds to see big wins.
But on Saturday afternoon, the Barn most likely would've been jeering instead of rocking.
The same Illinois team that embarrassed the Gophers in the Big Ten opener in December in Champaign made them question their effort and the direction of their season after a 94-63 thrashing Saturday on their home court.
It was Minnesota's largest margin of defeat against Illinois at home since Williams Arena opened in 1906 and the program's worst home loss since a 34-point blowout vs. Purdue in 2018.
"We just got to have pride for the program and pride for each other," senior forward Eric Curry said. "We know we got people down, but people have got to step up."
The Gophers (13-10, 6-10 Big Ten) are reeling with eight losses in their past 11 games. They were as overmatched Saturday as they've been all season, with veteran guard Gabe Kalscheur out because of a broken finger and center Liam Robbins hobbled by an ankle injury.
The No. 5 Illini (16-5, 14-3) got 41 points combined from one of the best inside-outside tandems in college basketball, Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, to win their seventh straight game.
Dosunmu made his case stronger for Big Ten player of the year, recording his second triple-double this season with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Freshman Jamal Mashburn Jr. led four Gophers in double figures with 16 points, but Minnesota was lackluster and disconnected on both ends of the court. The Gophers gave up 48 points in the paint, 31 fast-break points and committed a season-high 18 turnovers.
"Everything we did was not real good," coach Richard Pitino said. "It's not like we need to harp on one specific thing. Transition defense was not real good. Offensively, turning the ball over was not good. We need to get back to work with everything."
With four games left in the regular season, Pitino will need his injury-plagued team to regroup quickly. It must go undefeated the rest of the way just to finish with a .500 league record.
Robbins did his best to battle Cockburn, Illinois' 7-foot, 285-pound center, who had 33 points in the 92-65 win over Minnesota on Dec. 15. The 7-foot Robbins had five blocks in the first half to help the Gophers keep the game competitive for 28 minutes.
A three-pointer from Tre' Williams made it 34-29 with just under four minutes left in the half, but the Gophers only woke a sleeping giant.
The Illini ended the half on an 11-2 run, highlighted by a steal and half-court buzzer-beater by Trent Frazier to take a 48-33 halftime lead. Minnesota's players looked deflated as they left the floor.
The Gophers fell apart only a few minutes into the second half and trailed 61-35 after Dosunmu's jumper capped a 13-2 run. Six of Illinois' eight dunks came after halftime, including Cockburn trying to bring the rim down with little to no opposition.
The Gophers beat Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State at home this season, but they showed Saturday just how vulnerable they are right now. They can't afford any bad losses that would make them fall off the NCAA tournament bubble.
"I wouldn't say we're wounded," senior forward Brandon Johnson said. "[Like] any team, we have injuries here and there. I believe if we just stick to our principles and keep working hard, everything will work out in our favor."