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Minnesota Basketball: Gophers Lose to Illinois 85-52 in Big Ten Tournament

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Blowout in first round of conference tournament caps nightmare season.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It was a fitting way to end a terrible season, with a blowout to a suspect Illinois team who is in such bad shape that they're about to fire their coach. The Gophers couldn't do anything against the Illini, even from the opening tip, falling behind 17-8 within the first seven minutes and never actually competing. The Illini owned a 16-point lead at halftime and extended that to as much as 37 late in the second half before ultimately winning 85-52.

On the surface, it's not surprising, considering that the Gophers ran out their C-squad and had basically no one to back up guys who shouldn't have been out there in the first place. It was a sad display for a team with no other choice. Honestly, you feel bad for the guys on the court, since they really didn't deserve to be ran in circles by a team like Illinois.

THE FACTS: It was more of the same from the rest of the season. Poor shooting (38%), turnovers (15), and, really, no cohesiveness (a measly 7 assists). Hard to win when you're not doing anything.

THE STAT: The Gophers have not led in a game in 134 minutes. That more than three whole games. Holy crap.

THE TURNING POINT: The opening tip. I thought there might be a slight possibility that the Gophers could give Illinois a run for its money if they got a little confidence right away, since Illinois is actually a team that a C-squad from Minnesota could maybe hand with. But that was out the door within the first few minutes.

NOTABLE: Jordan Murphy continued to impress, days after being named to the conference All-Freshman team. A candidate for Freshman Player of the Year, Murphy racked up 9 points and 9 rebounds as he cemented himself as the one of, if not THE, team's best player.

Oh, and Darin Haugh scored his first points as a D-I player.

UP NEXT: Nobody. This nightmare of a season is finally, mercifully over.