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Gophers men's basketball looks to put road struggles behind at Illinois

GOPHERS MEN'S BASKETBALL GAMEDAY

8 p.m., Wednesday at Illinois' State Farm Center

TV; radio: BTN; 100.3 FM

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Marcus Fuller's preview:

Opening bell: The Gophers (17-10, 8-8 Big Ten) have been tough to beat at home lately, but they are struggling on the road. Last Sunday's 73-55 loss at Nebraska was the U's fifth loss in the last six road games. Getting back on track Wednesday in Champaign won't be any easier with No. 13 Illinois (20-7, 11-5) winning six straight games in the series. The Illini have been the second-best team in the Big Ten behind Purdue for weeks, but they needed a pick-me-up win Saturday against Iowa. Illinois is 14-2 at home this season, losing only to Marquette and Maryland.

Watch him: Illini forward Coleman Hawkins had a career-high 30 points with five assists and five steals in last weekend's 95-85 win against the Hawkeyes. Hawkins had been an inconsistent scorer his first three seasons, but he's averaging a career-best 13 points on 39.7% shooting from three.

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Injuries: None.

Forecast: The Gophers aren't giving up on their NCAA tournament hopes, but the bracket experts might give up on making them a bubble team anytime soon. Getting blown out by Nebraska came at the wrong time with coach Ben Johnson's team desperate for another marquee win. Beating Illinois would top the Gophers' NCAA tourney résumé, but they haven't won there since 2017.