Gophers gear up for daunting stretch of games

DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer Published:

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Gophers have proven they're not helpless without Trevor Mbakwe (im-BAHK-way), not even after four straight losses to start Big Ten play.

Here comes the true test for Minnesota: five games in three weeks against teams ranked in the Top 25.

The Gophers host No. 21 Wisconsin on Thursday, followed by a home game next Tuesday against No. 3 Ohio State. They host Michigan State and Indiana, and then play the Badgers again before the end of the month.

With a 5-6 conference record, Minnesota is squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble. The Gophers will probably need a few more wins over quality Big Ten opponents to put themselves in position for an at-large bid.