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Minnesota Basketball: Ending the Season Hot

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Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Lets take a look at the Gopher's remaining schedule for the season.  While riding high from the win over Maryland, I'm going to swing from one end of the spectrum (the "Burn it all down" side) to the other side (B1G Tourney run? MAYBE?), cause why not?

Rutgers (home) - Before I was confident in this as a win.  It is a home game, Rutgers has consistently been "worse than us" all year and after the Maryland win I am basking in overconfidence.  We are an 86% favorite according to KenPom and I like how the Gophers are playing lately.  I predict a win.

Illinois (away) - the Illini are barely better than the Gophers and have been pretty bad all year.  The meeting in the Barn was a big missed opportunity for Minnesota, but with a 2-game win streak and some confidence maybe we return the favor by beating them on their own floor. Sure they have four conference wins but three of them are against Minnesota and Rutgers x2.  Not exactly impressive.  We also have 2 more days than they do to prepare.  Could very easily be a Gopher W.

Wisconsin (home) - Badgers are certainly better than the Gophers, but now we have a 3-game win streak.  Confidence is growing while the Badgers are actually fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives.  At the time of this typing they have won 7 of their last 8, so this team is playing better than they were in January.  Likely a loss but it is a home game and maybe it gets interesting.  I'd love nothing more than to see the Gophers win this and push Wisconsin on to the bubble, possibly be the game that relegates them to the NIT (note: this seems unlikely as Badgers have a good RPI and very good SOS, but a few losses to end the season, including to Minnesota would shake things up).

Rutgers (away) - Senior night for the Scarlet Knights and probably Rutgers last chance to get a win for the first time in 31 regular season conference games.  Can the Gophers stay hot and get a road win over the league's worst team?  They have to win someday, but I'll stay confident that we are better and will come out with a win here.

That brings us to the B1G Tourney, basically locked into the 13 seed and facing the 12 seed.  Very likely that will be Illinois (possibly Penn State).  Another winnable game for the Gophers.  Am I crazy to see us winning 5 out of 6? Yes, I know I am and at this point I'm chugging the kool-aid cause after we beat Illinois we move on to face the Big Ten's 5 seed.  Clearly they are just average and now nobody wants to face the suddenly red-hot Gophers.  Another obvious win and we move on to face the 4-seed.  Does the 4th best B1G team scare me?  Not at this point, bring them all on.

Now with confidence at an all-time-high, we sit in the Big Ten Tourney semi-finals.  At this point bubble teams all over the country are nervous about us shrinking the bubble-pool by one spot.  We knock off the 1-seed who just cares about staying healthy for the following weekend, move on to the title game and play our way into the NCAA Tournament.

* GoAUpher slaps GopherNation to awake him from his slumber

whoa, got a little carried away there, sorry guys.

So the first half of my post...how crazy does it seem?  The second half?  Borderline certifiable.

Am I crazy to think that the Gophers end up with 3 or 4 (5?) conference wins?  At 0-13 it seemed impossible, now though...not too far out there is it?  What do you think?