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Big Ten Tournament Bracket: Minnesota Golden Gophers Have Difficult Road Ahead

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.

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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.

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.