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Michigan seeks momentum-building win vs. Minnesota

Jan 16, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Dawson Garcia (3) dribbles against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the first half at Williams Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Recent success against one another is reason enough for both Minnesota and Michigan to feel confident heading into Sunday afternoon’s Big Ten contest in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Wolverines (10-8, 4-3) should feel confident after dominating the first meeting of the season with a 90-75 rout in Minneapolis on Dec. 8.

But the Golden Gophers (7-10, 1-6) know they can beat Michigan on the road, having done so on their most recent visit with a 75-65 decision in December 2021.

Minnesota has won three of the past five meetings with Michigan, but the Golden Gophers will need to get off of the mat after a couple of big losses.

Minnesota is coming off back-to-back blowout defeats at home to Illinois and No. 3 Purdue.

In Thursday’s 61-39 loss to the Boilermakers, Minnesota scored its fewest points in a game in 72 years, so fixing the offense will be the top priority against Michigan.

“We were just flat and we let the offense kind of suck the life out of us,” Minnesota coach Ben Johnson told the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

Michigan also enters coming off a loss following a 64-58 defeat at Maryland on Thursday.

The Wolverines enter an important stretch where they will play five of their next seven games at home as they try to build a resume for an NCAA tournament bid.

Beating Minnesota won’t be a signature win by any stretch, but it would avoid a bad loss and build momentum for a home showdown with Purdue on Thursday.

Michigan gave up 42 points in the paint and 15 rebounds to Maryland, something coach Juwan Howard said will be rectified against Minnesota.

“We will fix it,” he said. “I trust that we will be better on Sunday.”

The Wolverines also have three players scoring in double figures with Hunter Dickinson (17.8), Jett Howard (15.4) and Kobe Bufkin (12.1).

–Field Level Media