Gophers can boost tourney hopes while crushing Indiana's

Indiana and Minnesota are going in opposite directions, and Richard Pitino hopes the trends continue tonight.
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Danger lurks as the Minnesota Gophers (18-7, 6-6) prepare to host the Indiana Hoosiers (15-11, 5-8) in Big Ten men's basketball Wednesday night.

Which Hoosiers team will show up: The one that beat Kansas and North Carolina or the one that got stomped at home by Michigan on Sunday?

Indiana has problems. Michigan hadn't won on the road all season until Sunday. The loss prompted head coach Tom Crean to publicly rip his team, specifically the juniors.

"I've never coached a team with this lack of maturity when it comes to being able to respond and rebound from when things aren't going well for them personally," Crean said, via ESPN. "And that includes my teams that I had that won six and 10 games. ... So I've got to do a much better job because we don't respond, and then our communication breaks down. It's not even close. Thomas [Bryant] is really trying to lead a team, and he's not getting a lot of help. He's trying to make up for a group of juniors who just really have no ability to see past themselves, when it comes to what it takes to be successful as a team."

In the latest bracketology at ESPN.com, the Gophers are an 8-seed and Indiana isn't in.

Will Crean's message light a fire or can the Gophers get on top of the struggling Hoosiers early and run away with the game?

If Vegas is any indication, the Gophers are favored by five.

A win for Minnesota would put them at 19-7 with five Big Ten regular season games to go. Twenty wins overall might be enough to get into the NCAA Tournament and a .500 Big Ten record (6-6 with six games to go) would probably do the trick, too.

A loss will only put Minnesota closer to the dreaded bubble.

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