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Bubble Bursts For Gophers In 70-63 Loss To Michigan

The Minnesota Golden Gophers needed this game in order to have any realistic chance of making the NCAA Tournament that starts in mid-March. Now, barring a miracle run in the Big Ten's post-season tournament, Gopher fans can now start making plans to watch NIT games at a location near them.

The Gophers, who held a 62-59 lead with three minutes to play, got outscored 11-1 from that point on to fall to the Wolverines by a score of 70-63 at the Barn this afternoon. The loss drops the Gophers to 17-11 overall, 6-10 in the Big Ten conference, and dashed any real hopes the team had of making the field of 64 65 68 for this year's Big Dance.

Blake Hoffarber and Trevor Mbakwe led the way for the Gophers with 18 points each, with Rodney Williams and Ralph Sampson III chipping in with eight each. Tim Hardaway, Jr. played like a 6-foot-5 version of his father, putting in 22 points for the Wolverines while drilling five-of-eight three pointers.

After defeating Northwestern back on January 26, the Gophers were 16-4 and riding high towards a pretty high seed in the NCAA Tournament. After today's loss, they're 17-11 and are pretty much destined for the NIT. They have a trip to Northwestern on Wednesday and their home finale on March 6 against Penn State to prepare themselves for the Big Ten tournament.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.