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Big Ten Tournament Bracket 2012: Minnesota Plays Northwestern In First Round

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.

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For more on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher. You can also learn more about college basketball around the nation at SB Nation's College Basketball hub.

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