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Pivotal game

I see Saturday's game as key for Penn State in this hoops season.

The Minnesota games often are key.

You'll remember last year, when the Lions lost to the Gophers at the Bryce Jordan Center when hopes were so high early in the Big Ten campaign.

This time, the inconsistent Gophers come to town as Penn State is on a losing streak, following a winning streak that drew attention.

The streak is at three and the Lions can't afford it to go to four. They won't return home for two weeks and every game, particularly on the road, is tough in the Big Ten.

Talor Battle has to get out of his slump, clearly, but the Lions overall can't stumble in front of another big crowd against a Gopher team that always plays tough. If they do, a postseason NIT soon may be in serious question.