Barring either one of these pedestrian teams making a dramatic run of wins to end the season or through the Big Ten Tournament, this is an elimination game. Winner stays alive on their quest for an NCAA Tournament bid, loser should start making plans for the NIT.
Northwestern has a very solid RPI (44) and Strength of Schedule (8). But a loss to Minnesota at home likely means this team finishes 7-11 in conference play with only 17 wins overall before the B1G Tournament. Their RPI and SOS is boosted by playing Baylor and Creighton early in the season, though both were losses. A win doesn't make NU a lock, but a loss would put a serious ding in their resume. Minnesota's RPI (67) and SOS (55) are not as good but the Gophers have more wins. Even with a win over Northwestern they would still have some work to do, but a loss would likely be the nail in the coffin.
Huge game with significant post-season implications. Can the Gophers pull it out?