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Mbakwe: 'This is our chance to make a statement'


The 8th-ranked Gophers take on 5th-ranked Indiana on Saturday. Indiana is 28-1 at home over the last two seasons, with their only loss coming to the Gophers last year. Saturday's game marks the one-year anniversary that game, and another win for the Gophers should vault them into the top five of the national polls -- especially since No. 4 Arizona lost to Oregon Thursday night.

Amelia Rayno of the Star Tribune writes that if everything goes well for the Gophers, they could be ranked as high as No. 3 in the Associated Press poll into next week's game against No. 2 Michigan.

Minnesota senior Trevor Mbakwe knows that today’s game against fifth ranked Indiana is a "our chance to make a statement." Last year when the Gophers upset Indiana without Mbakwe, who was sidelined with a torn ACL. Needless to say, he's been "waiting a long time for this."

Former Gophers head coach Jim Dutcher tells the Star Tribune that "trust" is a major factor in their early success. He says head coach Tubby Smith is "a coach with confidence in his team, and for good reason.''

Indiana head coach Tom Crean was the coach at Marquette who recruited Mbakwe out of high school. When Crean took the Indiana job, Mbakwe transferred. Crean says Mbakwe is a "tough, physical, imposing" player that might be "the hardest matchup" in all of college basketball.

The game will be televised on Big Ten Network, with Gus Johnson doing the play-by-play.

The Gophers routed No. 12 Illinois Wednesday night. It was a great game, with the highlights right here:

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