MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota has reached the halfway point of the Big Ten season with plenty of momentum.

The question for the Gophers is whether they can keep it going and get back to the NCAA tournament despite the loss of star Trevor Mbakwe and four straight losses to start conference play.

Coach Tubby Smith was asked Tuesday about his team’s identity. He says it boils down to poise. That was evident down the stretch in Saturday’s overtime win over Illinois, and the freshmen and sophomores have been more productive in crucial situations than the upperclassmen.

Minnesota plays at Iowa on Wednesday, an opportunity to avenge an earlier loss to the Hawkeyes.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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