Pitino hopes a lineup shuffle can stop Gophers' 4-game skid


The Gopher men's basketball team is in a hole – an 0-4 hole as they look for their first Big Ten win on Tuesday at home against Iowa.

The Gophers' four straight conference losses is the longest losing streak in Richard Pitino's brief career as a head coach. It's also troubling, because no Gophers basketball team has ever qualified for the NCAA Tournament after starting the Big Ten season at 0-4.

It has been awhile since Pitino has even been involved in a four-game skid.

According to FOX Sports Net, the last time Pitino went through a similar streak, he was an assistant on the Duquesne team that lost eight straight to finish the 2006-'07 season.

Pitino told reporters he plans to shake up the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Hawkeyes.

"It's difficult, so now you've got to talk about how you handle it," Pitino said Monday. "I don't think I've ever gone through four in a row recently. I don't remember. We have to do it together. We have to tune out any type of negativity, whatever it may be. We've just got to stay positive. We know we can play much better basketball."

The Star Tribune's Amelia Rayno thinks Pitino will make more than one change to the lineup. She believes one of the moves will be swapping freshman Nate Mason for DeAndre Mathieu.

She notes Mathieu has struggled in Big Ten play, averaging eight points a game while committing 17 turnovers to just eight assists. Mason, on the other hand, has been averaging about seven points a game with eight assists and just three turnovers.

But Pitino didn't put the fault on just Mathieu or anyone else.

"I think they can all do more," he said. "I give our guys a lot of offensive freedom. We've got to make sure they understand that freedom can't be abused. So we're really really trying to tighten all that stuff up a little bit."

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