"It's not a possession-to-possession league," coach Tom Crean said. "It's a pass-to-pass league. That's why it's the best league in the country. You've got to be locked in to every pass."
Mathieu had two of Minnesota's seven steals.
The Gophers took their first lead, 50-49, with less than 11 minutes left when Malik Smith faked a shot and with a midair pass found Walker wide open for an uncontested layup. Smith banked in a 3-pointer a little later.
Then with 3:14 remaining, Hollins, just like Smith did a few minutes earlier, passed up a jumper and threaded the ball inside for Elliott Eliason and another easy layup for a 60-56 Gophers lead.
Vonleh's layup off a steal underneath the basket brought the Hoosiers within 62-60 with 41 seconds left, but Mathieu sealed it with his redemptive drive.
"We're a good bounce-back team. We fix our mistakes really well the next time out," Hollins said.
The stakes weren't the same as last February when the Hoosiers arrived at Williams Arena ranked first in the Associated Press poll. The Gophers put together their best performance of that season for a 77-73 victory they likely wouldn't have made the NCAA tournament without, and the fans swarmed the court in celebration afterward.
The atmosphere felt almost the same, though, with a capacity crowd packed into the old arena on another cold night.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino was in attendance to watch his son Richard guide the Gophers, with another son, Ryan, sitting next to him -- wearing a bright yellow chicken suit. Former Minnesota coach Clem Haskins, whose 1989 team that reached the NCAA regional semifinals was honored at a halftime ceremony, was here, too, along with several players from that season.