Gophers travel to Columbus to take on No. 18 Buckeyes

2:21 AM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Tubby Smith's is coming off of a loss to Iowa that he deemed the worst of his career, but he and the Minnesota Golden Gophers have a chance to erase that memory with a win on the road against a ranked opponent on Wednesday night.

"I think we are 4-4 against ranked opponents," said Gophers guard Andre Hollins. "We just haven't been playing our best basketball this past month, so we're just going to have to step it up."

The Gophers' four wins over ranked opponents were all over top 20 teams. They will face another when they go on the road against No. 18 Ohio State on Wednesday. The Gophers' wins were over Memphis, Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin.

The Gophers haven't won in Columbus since 2005. They have also lost three of the last four against the Buckeyes.

Minnesota has five games left this season. It's likely they are a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but they know that they need to take care of business starting on Wednesday if they want the season to progress.

"I think this team can go far," Gophers forward Trevor Mbakwe said. "If we play the right way and we don't beat ourselves. Turnovers, that's kind of been the key of our downfall this year. We just gotta fix that and we'll be fine."

Mbakwe is doing his part this season. He is averaging a double-double of 10.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game over the Gophers' last 15 games. He currently leads the Big Ten Conference in rebounding with an average of 8.7 rebounds per game.

Forward Rodney Williams will be a game-time decision. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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