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?
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