Minnesota hopes to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Nebraska when it hosts Northwestern on Saturday. The Golden Gophers finished a brutal four-game stretch against nationally ranked teams with a respectable 2-2 record only to see their NCAA tournament hopes take a big hit with an 82-78 loss to the Cornhuskers. "There's a reason why we're 4-4 in the league," coach Richard Pitino said. "And you're going to sit around .500 until you can consistently defend, night-in and night-out."Northwestern opened up Big Ten play with three consecutive losses, but have rebounded to win four of its last six games. The Wildcats are fresh off a stunning 65-56 triumph over No. 13 Wisconsin and look to end their two-game road trip with another victory. "Obviously, this is a tremendous, tremendous win for our program," coach Chris Collins stated. "In one month's time, we've become a very tough group, and we've had to become tough because we've had a hard time scoring … so we've had to win with our defense."TV: 2 p.m. ET, Big Ten NetworkABOUT NORTHWESTERN (11-11, 4-5 Big Ten): Guard Drew Crawford leads the team in scoring (16.2) and rebounding (6.9), and poured in a season-high 30 points versus Wisconsin. The Wildcats held the Badgers to a season-low 26.3 percent from the field en route to their first win in Madison since 1996. Crawford has scored 69 points in his last three games and has tallied 20 or more points on five occasions this season. ABOUT MINNESOTA (15-6, 4-4): Guard Malik Smith equaled a school record with eight 3-pointers and finished with 29 points in the loss to Nebraska. Point guard DeAndre Mathieu leads the Golden Gophers in assists (4.3), but turned the ball over nine times versus the Cornhuskers. Andre Hollins, who tops the team in scoring (15.5), suffered a severe ankle sprain against Wisconsin on Jan. 22 and is questionable for Saturday's contest. TIP-INS1. Minnesota is 12-1 at home with its only loss coming to No. 14 Michigan. 2. Northwestern has held five of its last six opponents to 60 points or fewer. 3. The Wildcats have shot 50 percent or more in just one of their last 12 contests. PREDICTION: Minnesota 69, Northwestern 63