No. 5 Michigan vs. No. 9 Minnesota preview

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines and Minnesota Golden Gophers both fell in challenging matchups last week, adding to the importance of their bout on Thursday.

The Michigan Wolverines and Minnesota Golden Gophers learned lessons last week, as each of them lost to Big Ten Conference opponents.

On Thursday, they clash in Minneapolis, Minn., knowing another lesson -- the Big Ten schedule is flat-out tough.

The No. 4 Wolverines will face a tall task of beating a top-10 opponent away from Ann Arbor. John Beilein's Michigan teams are 1-16 against ranked opponents on the road, and the majority of those games came in the conference. Last week's loss to Ohio State gave the 16-1 Wolverines their first loss of the year, and while it affirmed that they're talented, they can't get off to slow starts.

The Buckeyes jumped out by as many as 21 points before Michigan nearly rallied only to fall 56-53.

Meanwhile, Minnesota fell to 15-2 with an 88-81 loss to No. 5 Indiana last week.

The No. 9 team in the nation will use its rebounding to get second opportunities at the rim, but leading scorer Andre Hollins must be able to compete with All-American candidate Trey Burke. Hollins averages 14.4 points and 3.6 assists per game.

Michigan is the 12th-best three-point shooting team in the nation at 40.4 percent. The Gophers must run Burke (18 points, seven assists per game), Nik Stauskas (50.5 percent from three-point range) and Glenn Robinson III (12.3 points per game) off the three-point stripe if they want to hold down their home court.

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