Starting lineup change on the horizon for the Gophers?

Jace Frederick

All season Gophers head coach Richard Pitino has been bombarded with questions about potential changes to his starting lineup.

And all season Pitino has deflected the questions, saying he wasn't going to make a change "just to make a change."

So every single game Pitino has trotted the same five players out onto the floor for the opening tip:

Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, DeAndre Mathieu, Elliott Eliason and Oto Osenieks.

The only time the Gophers deviated from that five was when Andre Hollins went down with a severe left ankle sprain, which caused him to miss two games and pushed Malik Smith into the starting lineup. But Hollins returned on Wednesday night in Minnesota's 77-74 loss to Purdue, and the starting five returned to its true form.

But in the Gophers loss to Purdue on Wednesday, there was a large minutes disparity between the starter Oto Osenieks, and the reserve Joey King. 

King scored 14 points and hauled in nine rebounds in 47 minutes, while Osenieks went scoreless and played just eight minutes in the triple-overtime affair.

So does the possibility for the lineup change exist?

"I think that's probably the position, if we had to switch something, it would be Joey and Oto," Pitino said. on Jan. 10, the day before the Michigan State game. "I don't think there's going to be a whole lot of difference. If we lose two or three in a row, maybe we'll change it."

The Gophers just lost their third-straight game. 

And while Pitino has minimized the importance of starting, often saying it's more important who finishes the game and plays more minutes — which is certainly fair — it'll be interesting to see if he thinks this current three-game slide is enough to warrant a change.

Minnesota heads into a must-win situation on Saturday night against Indiana in Williams Arena. We'll see who gets the start at the four spot.