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Gophers host Wisconsin, but these aren't the same ol' Badgers

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Fans taking in or watching the border battle between the Gophers men's basketball team and Wisconsin Wednesday night at Williams Arena are probably expecting another slow, boring, slugfest between the two rivals.

Think again. While that might end up being the case, these Badgers are a little different. Before we get to that, look at the last five meetings between Minnesota and Wisconsin

  • 2012: 45-44, Badgers 
  • 2012: 58-53, Gophers in overtime
  • 2011: 68-61, Badgers in overtime
  • 2011: 52-45, Badgers
  • 2010: 68-60, Badgers

Not even an extra five minutes of overtime was enough for either team to reach 70 points in any of the last five meetings. This year, the Badgers are averaging 75.8 points per game and they are the most efficient offensive team in the Big Ten, according to UWBadgers.com.

This game closes out a stretch of four straight games against top-15 ranked opponents. They lost at No. 5 Michigan State, beat the No. 11 Buckeyes and lost to No. 14 Iowa. Wisconsin was ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press poll before losing back-to-back games against Michigan and Indiana. They're currently ranked No. 9 in the AP poll.

The Gophers will be an underdog again, but it's having the underdog mentality that got away from the Gophers a blowout loss at Iowa Sunday.

''I thought I sensed that we were losing that underdog mentality that we've had all year,'' head coach Richard Pitino said, via Scout.com. ''Maybe when we beat Ohio State, we started feeling it a bit too much.

''We were certainly humbled – and maybe we needed it.''

Wisconsin is still a stout defensive team, but the emergence of center Elliott Eliason as a scoring option makes the Gophers more dangerous, too. The Star Tribune has a story on Minnesota's improving offense.

The Gophers are 68-31 all-time against the Badgers in Minneapolis, but they trail the all-time series 101-92.

The game tips off at 8 p.m.

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