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Minnesota Vs. Virginia Tech: Golden Gophers Play First Game Without Trevor Mbakwe

For more on the Golden Gophers, visit SB Nation's The Daily Gopher.

With potential All-American Trevor Mbakwe now lost for the season, the Minnesota Golden Gophers will try to move forward without the heart of their offense. Mbakwe was Minnesota's leading scorer at 14 points per game and rebounder at 9.1 per contest. With him out the scoring and rebounding load is expected to shift to Ralph Sampson III. The 6'11" center has already seen his rebounding average slip to a career low 3.7 this season, so he will need to improve his work on the glass for Minnesota to have success.

For now, The Daily Gopher examines what to do next without Mbakwe:

He and Ralph Sampson would pair to be a decent frontcourt that would often have to carry the load for an unreliable backcourt.  Most nights you are never sure what you are going to get from Sampson so the rock of this team was undoubtedly Trevor Mbakwe.

The Big Ten only needs two victories in tonight's six game to assure at least a tie in this year's challenge. Virginia Tech lost to Purdue in overtime during last season's challenge, and the Hokies are normally a team square on the NCAA bubble. a win on the road even against a depleted Minnesota team would be good for their profile.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.