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The Minnesota Golden Gophers suffered their second overtime defeat in as many days on Friday, a loss that had more implications than eliminating them for the 2012 Big Ten Tournament's title contention. Friday's loss not only meant the Gophers were no longer eligible for the Big Ten's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, but it could have also knocked them out of the less-prestigious NIT Tournament.
There were quite a few ups and downs for the Gophers over the last few weeks of the season: their six-game losing streak, their upset over the Northwestern Wildcats despite the Gophers being the No. 10 seed in the tournament and the fact they were within seconds of an upset over the Michigan Wolverines before their heart-breaking overtime loss.
Tubby Smith talked to the media following his Gophers loss on Friday, saying there's no more guaranteed basketball for Minnesota's young team.
The 10th-seeded Gophers (19-14), who possibly ended Northwestern's NCAA tournament hopes with an opening-round upset Thursday, were 4-1/2 minutes from securing a National Invitation Tournament bid with a nine-point lead against the Big Ten co-champion Wolverines (24-8) in regulation.
That wasn't enough of a cushion for a team whose season was defined by missed opportunities in late-game situations.
Smith won't gather his players Sunday to watch the NCAA tournament or NIT selection shows. But he told them to "keep hope alive that we will get an opportunity to play."
It'll be interesting to see what happens on Selection Sunday, huh?
The 2012 Big Ten Tournament bracket no longer includes the Minnesota Golden Gophers following Friday evening's loss to the Michigan Wolverines. The show must go on however, as they say, so we've decided to continue to provide coverage starting with coverage of Saturday's schedule.
Since the No. 10 seed Golden Gophers were outted in overtime, there are no longer any underdogs included in the field. Instead the top-seed Michigan State Spartans will take on the Wisconsin Badgers on one side of the bracket while Michigan plays the Ohio State Buckeyes on the other side with the winners advancing to Sunday's Big Ten championship game.
As far as times and television channels are concerned, well, that's included below along with an updated Big Ten Tournament bracket.
Game 9: No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 4 Wisconsin, 1:40 p.m., CBS Sports
Game 10: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Ohio State, 25 minutes following Game 9 conclusion, CBS Sports
All times are Eastern but, for the visual learners, there's this:
The 2012 Big Ten Tournament is done for the Minnesota Golden Gophers after they were unable to advance through to bracket by winning their second overtime game in as many nights, but the show will go on at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Michigan St. Wolverines, Wisconsin Badgers and Michigan Wolverines have all advanced through to the semifinals while the game between the Purdue Boilermakers and Ohio State Buckeyes still remains. Need a quick preview for that game? Our friends at Along The Olentangy have you covered:
If Purdue pulls off the upset, or even remains competitive throughout, it may be due to an obscure force. On February 7th, during the first game against Purdue, guard D.J. Byrd scored 24 points off the bench and kept the Boilermakers close. Ohio State should be aware of Byrd now, which would make a repeat performance from the role player a bit more shocking. William Buford exceeded Byrd's performance, scoring 29 points and hitting three 3-pointers, a performance that he, on the other hand, would be welcome to repeat.
The complete bracket is included below.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers fought incredibly hard for 90 minutes at the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, but it wasn't enough for Tubby Smith's team. After forcing overtime for a second consecutive game, the Gophers fell to the Michigan Wolverines by a final score 73-69.
The Wolverines went on an 8-1 run to start overtime and by the time the Gophers were able to answer with a pair of 3-pointers of their own from Rodney Williams and Andre Hollins, it was just a little too late.
Trey Burke scored a career-high 28 points for the Wolverines while Minnesota was once again led by freshman Andre Hollins with 21 points in a losing effort.
The Wolverines will play the winner of Friday night's game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Purdue Boilermakers for a chance at the Big Ten championship and automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. That game will take place on Saturday afternoon on CBS Sports.
The 2012 Big Ten basketball tournament is only through six games as this is written, but through those six games, the Minnesota Golden Gophers have participated in the most highlight worthy game. The Gophers defeated the Northwestern Wildcats in overtime on Thursday, allowing them to play the Michigan Wolverines on Friday night.
Hollins' box score stats don't make it seem like he was the prototypical point guard considering he had 25 points, five rebounds and exactly zero assists, but he took the team over from the outset. The freshman controlled the pace of the game, kept the ball in his hands during the big moments and generally looked like he should have been averaging much more than the minutes he played during the regular season.
If that doesn't suffice, however, the Gophers athletic department released the highlights on Youtube for anyone that missed the freshman's standout performance.
Not bad, right?
The 2012 Big Ten Tournament has huge implications for the Minnesota Golden Gophers as they look to string together some victories and earn a miracle entry in the Big Dance. Gophers forward Rodney Williams has recently cleared his plate to focus on the tournament, too, as he's decided he won't attempt to go to the NBA when the season is over.
Williams had been talked about as a possible candidate to enter the NBA Draft following the season, a la Ralph Sampson III last year, but the rules change made it impossible for him to withdraw had he submitted his name. So, according to comments he made to the Pioneer Press, he's decided instead to stay at Minnesota for another season.
"That's definitely a big monkey off my back because that was the talk all season," the 6-foot-7 Williams said Thursday. "Now I can really focus on getting these last couple wins down the stretch so that we can make it to postseason play."
Williams scored just 12 points to go with six rebounds and three steals in Thursday's opening-round victory, but capped off overtime with a big dunk to put the final nail in the coffin of the Northwestern Wildcats. It'll be interesting to see what he does on Friday against the Michigan Wolverines.
The 2012 Big Ten Tournament bracket has still only had one upset after Friday's opening game. The Michigan St. Spartans did what they were expected to do as the top seed in the tournament, dispatching the Iowa Hawkeyes in the first of four quarterfinal games.
The Spartans are missing standout freshman Branden Dawson, but they were still able to handily pick up a 92-75 victory while advancing to the semifinals of the conference tournament. ESPN's Myron Medcalf, a Big Ten basketball aficionado, posted the fun stuff following the game:
In the first half, Derrick Nix punched a hole into the Big Ten logo on the padding around one of the baskets after a tough bucket. ... Michigan State scored 55 points in the first half. The Spartans scored a total of 55 points in their Feb. 28 loss at Indiana. ... The Spartans played their first game without Branden Dawson, who tore his ACL in the final game of the regular season.
The bracket, as it stands currently, is included below.
A couple of weeks ago, it looked like the Minnesota Golden Gophers were pretty much dead in the water when it came to their chances at making the NCAA Tournament after a lackluster end to the regular season. Their win over Northwestern on Thursday changed the perceptions a bit, though, and a win over the Michigan Wolverines on Friday could raise some eyebrows and push the Gophers back into tournament contention.
The second-seeded Wolverines claimed a share of the Big Ten regular season title, which earned them their highest seed ever in Big Ten tournament play. They're firmly entrenched in the tournament, but seem to be the least respected of the three title sharing teams and a loss to Minnesota would chip them down a few pegs on the brackets.
The game will be on BTN at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.
The current Big Ten bracket can be found here.
For more on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher. For more on the Michigan Wolverines, head to Maize N Brew. For complete Big Ten tournament coverage, keep checking this StoryStream.
NCAA Bracketology is a science at this point of the season, of course, and it doesn't get any easier with all of the conference tournaments happening at the same time. One of the most difficult decisions to be made on Friday morning was likely what to do with the Northwestern Wildcats after Thursday's loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament.
The loss made Northwestern look terribly average at best considering Minnesota was playing without its only senior, instead relying on a pair of freshmen as the Gophers went on to win in overtime. That loss hurt Northwestern quite a bit, eliminating them not only from the Big Ten Tournament but the NCAA Tournament as well, according to SB Nation expert Chris Dobbertean.
Northwestern (18-13 8-11 Big Ten, RPI: 47, SOS: 12, non-conf. SOS: 9)
Thursday's loss to Minnesota likely doomed the Wildcats, who own just one Top 50 win (against 10 losses), to the NIT. They likely needed to beat Michigan today anyway, and now they won't even get the chance.
The Gophers won't be able to knock Friday's opponent, the Michigan Wolverines, out of the tournament. They could play themselves into the Big Dance, however, if they're able to string together a few more wins.
The 2012 Big Ten Tournament got off to a rousing start as some brackets were likely busted when the Minnesota Golden Gophers upset the Northwestern Wildcats in overtime on Thursday afternoon. Friday's schedule doesn't leave any easy upsets to predict, but there is a reason it's called March Madness.
Before getting to a full bracket and schedule, it seems to make sense to hit on the Minnesota game first considering this is SB Nation Minnesota. Tubby Smith's team won't have an easy go on Friday as the No. 10 seeded Golden Gophers will take on the No. 2 seed Michigan Wolverines at 5:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.
Starting the day off on Friday will top-seeded Michigan State Spartans taking on the Iowa Hawkeyes in a game schedule 11 a.m. Central Time on ESPN. Following the conclusion of that game, the Wisconsin Badgers will face the Indiana Hoosiers. The night cap, scheduled for 25 minutes after the Gophers game, will feature the Ohio State Buckeyes playing the Purdue Boilermakers.
A full schedule of the day's events is listed below (all times Eastern), along with the actual bracket embedded for the visual learners in attendance.
Game 5: No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Iowa, Noon, ESPN
Game 6: No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Indiana, 25 minutes following Game 5 conclusion, ESPN
Game 7: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 10 Minnesota, 6:30 p.m., BTN
Game 8: No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Purdue, 25 minutes following Game 7 conclusion, BTN
The Minnesota Golden Gophers picked up a big win on Thursday afternoon, defeating the Northwestern Wildcats in overtime to advance to the second round of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. It was a gritty performance that Tubby Smith's team didn't seem capable of toward the end of the year.
That might be because it was essentially a whole different team, according to our SB Nation friends over at The Daily Gopher. The only player Minnesota was missing was senior Ralph Sampson III due to injury, but TDG notes his absence had the whole team playing different than it had over the final games of the regular season.
I am loving the future of Hollins as the Gopher's primary scorer. In fact tonight was the debut of the 2012-13 Gophers. Hollins, Hollins and Coleman in the backcourt with Eliason and Williams manning the paint. Even without the return of Mbakwe I expect this team to be better, Mbakwe's presence just raises expectations.
This was a gutty win by the Gophers. In the first half Northwestern hit 9 / 20 threes and fortunately Rodney Williams hit a deep (and rare) three to keep the deficit to just two at the half. But the Gophers came out in the second half with a more aggressive man-to-man. The man-to-man limited NU to just five three-point attempts in the second half and 33.3% overall shooting.
It'd be surprising if they're able to do the same against the Michigan Wolverines on Friday night, but win or lose, it should give Gophers fans hope for the future.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers started the 2012 Big Ten Tournament off on the right foot Thursday afternoon, using overtime to upend the Northwestern Wildcats. That game meant that the No. 10 seeded Gophers will advance in their bracket to play the Michigan Wolverines on Friday evening.
The Gophers and Wolverines played each other just once in the regular season, back on New Year's Day, with Michigan freshman Trey Burke scoring 27 points as the Wolverines eked out a five-point victory.
The Gophers got huge contributions from freshman Andre Hollins and Eliott Eliason on Thursday as each were instrumental in helping lead the Gophers to victory. Hollins finished with a game-high 25 points while Eliason pulled in 10 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end.
Freshman point guard Andre Hollins scored a game-high 25 points and fellow first-year contributor Elliott Eliason hauled in six offensive rebounds in place of the injured Ralph Sampson III to help the Minnesota Golden Gophers advance through the 2012 Big Ten Tournament bracket.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers weren't expected to be able to compete with the Northwestern Wildcats in the first round of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. The young team did that and more despite playing without their only senior on Thursday afternoon, though, rallying to defeat the Wildcats with an overtime victory.
The No. 10 seed in the tournament ended their season six losses in seven games, but picked up a huge win over the No. 7 seed to force a game with the Michigan Wolverines at 5:30 on Friday.
The Gophers trailed quite a bit in the second half, but were able to tie the game when Andre Hollins made jumper to tie the game at 61 points at the end of regulation. Both teams had a pair of possessions to break the tie, but neither was able to and the game went to overtime.
Andre Hollins was huge for the Gophers, taking on a leadership role since the team's only senior was missing as Ralph Sampson III was out due to a knee injury he suffered in practice earlier in the week. The 6-foot-1 freshman point guard scored 16 points in the first half on the way to 25 points including five 3-pointers. Though three other players finished with double figures for the Gophers, it was Sampson's replacement -- Elliot Eliason -- who was most crucial for the Gophers as he pulled down 11 big rebounds, including seven on the offensive end.
Northwestern went ice cold to end the game, but JerShon Cobb and John Shurna both played very well for the Wildcats with 24 and 21 points respectively. Nobody else scored in double figures for Northwestern, however, leading to the loss.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers fought incredibly hard for 40 minutes against one of their rivals in the first round of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, but it unfortunately wasn't meant to happen in regulation.. The team was able to force overtime, however, against the Northwestern Wildcats on Thursday afternoon.
Northwestern nearly went up by two points in the final minute, but a floater attempt from JerShon Cobb fell off the rim after hanging up there forever, giving Minnesota the ball following the defensive rebound.
The Gophers had the ball with 26.8 seconds and the shot clock off when Tubby Smith called a timeout following a scramble and controversial out of bounds call that was overturned to go Minnesota's way. Andre Hollins had a chance at a jumper, but the shot was long and Northwestern couldn't score at the other end before time expired.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers trail by two points at halftime of the first game in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, but it isn't because the Gophers aren't connecting on offense. Missing their lone senior as Ralph Sampson III sits due to injury, the Gophers have simply been making mistakes young players make.
Andre Hollins hit four of his five three-point attempts in the first half on the way to 16 points to lead all scorers, but it wasn't enough to keep the Gophers from falling behind 36-34 at halftime. Part of that reason is because nobody else was able to consistently score for Minnesota in the first half, but their seven turnovers compared to just two for Northwestern didn't help, either.
Ralph Sampson III suffered an injury in practice earlier this week as the Minnesota Golden Gophers were preparing for the 2012 Big Ten tournament. It wasn't expected to be that serious at first, but he'll apparently miss the Gophers opening game of the tournament against the Northwestern Wildcats.
Sampson tweaked his knee in practice on Monday and, according to the Star Tribune's Amelia Rayno, he'll likely be out for the majority of the Big Ten tournament -- which might not be long for the Gophers considering they enter as the No. 10 seed.
Ralph Sampson III will be out today and likely beyond -- if the Gophers advance -- with an knee injury sustained in practice Monday. Starting in Sampson's spot will be Elliott Eliason, who has started four games in place of the senior this season.
Northwestern isn't great in the post, either, so maybe Eliason can do some damage. It still would've certainly helped to have Sampson, the team's only senior, in the lineup.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are scheduled to play their first game of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament at 4:30 p.m., but there are already a couple of games in the books on the other side of the bracket. There haven't been any upsets as far as seeds are considered, either, so Tubby Smith's squad will look to become the first in that regard.
In the first game of the day, the Iowa Hawkeyes eliminated the Illinois Fighting Illini in a game that has many speculating Bruce Weber's run as head coach of the Illini will be over. Illinois got a solid 18 points and and six rebounds out of center Meyers Leonard, but Matt Gatens and Aaron White helped the Hawkeyes move on to the quarterfinals with a 64-61 victory.
The Indiana Hoosiers stomped the Penn State Nittany Lions in the other game, cruising to a 75-58 victory after holding a six-point advantage at halftime. Jordan Hulls scored 20 points and Cody Zeller led the Hoosiers with 20 and 19 points apiece while the Nittany Lions lost despite 26 points from guard Tim Frazier.
The Hawkeyes will play the top-seeded Michigan State Spartans on Friday morning while the Hoosiers advanced to play the No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers. The full bracket is included below and will be updated upon completion of Thursday's games.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers have a long road to the NCAA Tournament considering they'll likely have to win the 2012 Big Ten basketball tournament first, but nothing is impossible. Unlikely, maybe, but not impossible as the Gophers meet the Northwestern Wildcats in the first round on Thursday afternoon.
The Gophers might be without their only senior, center Ralph Sampson III, when the tip-off happens at about 4:30 p.m. Sampson's injury shouldn't make anyone shy away from watching it when ESPN2 begins its Big Ten tournament coverage (full schedule here).
Minnesota ended its season losing six of their final seven games (they beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers at home in the regular season finale), but split the season series with Northwestern. If the Gophers are able to play like they did against the Wildcats in their first meeting -- a 23-point victory in which all five starters scored in double figures -- things could be happening and the Gophers might be able to advance.
If the Gophers instead play the Wildcats like they did during 64-53 loss on Feb. 18, however, it might be time to cherish Minnesota's neighbors to the west and jump on the South Dakota State bandwagon. Aside from Julian Welch and his 21 points, Minnesota's starters combined for just 17 points and 14 turnovers.
Northwestern is of course led by John Shurna, the 6-foot-9 forward that seems to have the Gophers' number every time the two teams play. Shurna averaged 19.8 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Wildcats this season.
Whichever team wins Thursday afternoon's contest will have to turn around and face the Michigan Wolverines in a game scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Friday night.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers have to win the 2012 Big Ten Tournament to make it through to March Madness, but the bracket isn't going to do them any favors. The Gophers begin their trek on Thursday afternoon, after splitting the season series, and it only gets more difficult from there.
If the top seeds win like they're supposed to and the Gophers win like they aren't supposed to, Minnesota will play the second-seeded Michigan Wolverines on Friday, the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday and then the Michigan State Spartans on Sunday for the Big Ten championship.
It seems like the Gophers have the odds stacked against getting any further than squeaking by the Wildcats, but The Daily Gopher has other ideas. The experts over there aren't optimistic that Tubby Smith's team can win the whole tournament, but they like the odds of Minnesota maybe getting to play on Saturday.
The Gophers can beat Michigan but I think it would ultimately have to be because the Wolverine's shoot poorly and considering they haven't seen us since early January we might get big games out of Joe Coleman and Andre Hollins.
There is a reason that Michigan tied for the conference title and the Gophers are the 10 seed. They are a good team who will beat Minnesota more often than not. BUT they are not unbeatable and when the Gophers are playing with some passion they can compete with a team like the Wolverines. I'm not calling a win in game two, but like I said it is the preferred match-up of the top four seeded teams.
Take that analysis as a healthy dose of optimism, of course, but at least the Daily Gopher doesn't make it seem as though the rest of the week should be doom and gloom.
The 2012 Big Ten Tournament will tip-off early Thursday morning, but the Minnesota Golden Gophers don't take the court until the third game of the day. The Iowa Hawkeyes will get everything going when they play the Illinois Fighting Illini in a game scheduled for 10:30 a.m.
Following the conclusion of the Iowa vs. Illiois game, there will be a 25 minute break until the Indiana Hoosiers take on the Penn State Nittany Lions. 25 minutes after that game is when the Gophers will take the court.
The Gophers are playing the Northwestern Wildcats in a match-up pitting the tournament's seven seed up against the No. 10 seed Minnesota received for its 6-12 effort during the Big Ten conference season. The day will conclude with the Purdue Boilermakers taking on the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
If words aren't our reader's favorite, we've embedded a bracket below. It's also handy for figuring out what's going to happen for the winners in the next round.
Ralph Sampson III, a senior center for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, injured his knee Monday at practice and is questionable for Minnesota's opening round Big Ten Tournament game against Northwestern on Thursday, according to Amelia Rayno of The Star Tribune. Via Rayno:
Ralph Sampson III "tweaked" his knee two days ago, Gophers coach Tubby Smith said on Wednesday, making his status questionable for Thursday's opening round game against Northwestern at the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis. Sampson hurt the knee in practice, Smith said, and had not practiced since. The senior was seen shooting free throws on the court behind Smith as he spoke.
Sampson III is the Golden Gopher's lone senior, averaging 7.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game this season. Minnesota (18-13, 6-12) has virtually no chance of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Head coach Tubby Smith is getting the Minnesota Golden Gophers ready to roll for when they start Big Ten tournament play on Thursday. Smith's team is doubling up on practices ahead of their opening round game against the Northwestern Wildcats.
Early practice sessions are focused on shooting, something the Golden Gophers struggled with during the season. They finished the year shooting just 46 percent from the field.
The Gophers ended their regular season on a high note, beating Nebraska on March 3. That ended a six-game skid that put a damper on what had been an otherwise solid season for Minnesota.
Minnesota plays on Thursday night in the final game of the opening round. The good news is that they split the regular season series with Northwestern, beating the Wildcats by 14 points on Jan. 22. They lost their second game, on Feb. 18, by 11 points.
For a complete Big Ten tournament bracket, visit here.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball season ended up a lot more disappointing than most had hoped going into the season. While it can't all be blamed on Tubby Smith, some have started to wonder whether the team's head coach should be fired.
The Big Ten Tournament bracket was released on Sunday afternoon with the Minnesota Golden Gophers officially being slotted in as the No. 10 seed in the 2012 version of the conference basketball tourney. Tubby Smith's team will play the same team they did in 2011, however, as they drew Northwestern for Thursday's first round game.
The Gophers will play the Wildcats for the right to advance through to the second round against the Michigan Wolverines on Friday and, hopefully, eventually through to next Sunday's championship game.
The first game for the Gophers is scheduled to be played at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. ESPN2 will have full coverage of that game, though the Big Ten Network is scheduled to televise their second round game -- provided they win against Northwestern, of course.
The Michigan State Spartans clinched the tournament's top seed, the Ohio State Buckeyes are second and the Wisconsin Badgers round out the first round byes as the tournament's fourth seed, though both Wisconsin and Michigan State are on the other side of the bracket.
The 2012 Big Ten Tournament bracket and schedule was released on Sunday afternoon. The Minnesota Golden Gophers will play the Northwestern Wildcats as they attempt a miracle by advancing through to the championship and into the NCAA Tournament.
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