With Sunday’s Big Ten games completed, the Gophers found that they are locked into the 7-seed for the Big Ten Tournament. They get to face Penn State who has won 5 of their last 6 games and are kind of dangerous right now.
WHEN: Thursday 6:00 PM
WHERE: United Center, Chicago
WHO: 7-Minnesota vs 10-Penn State
TV: Big Ten Network
Winning team gets to face Purdue who ended up with the 2-seed in the tournament.
So what does game mean?
Well in my opinion the Gophers are VERY likely in regardless of this outcome. Looking at Sunday morning bracket projections the Gophers are still ahead of 9 or 10 teams. So every single one of those teams would have to outplay Minnesota to get in (plus one who is currently considered out). And most of those teams would probably have to win 2 to leapfrog the Gophers.
Losing to Penn State isn’t going to be considered a bad loss considering their NET ranking and at tip-off this would be considered a Quad 1 win (though a loss might push them out of the top 50).
A win is always best though. Losing pushes us back down into Dayton territory for the play-in games. And winning just moves you up the seed list.
A win is important, though not necessarily critical.
Penn State, on the other hand, is hoping to making a run and get themselves into the NCAA Tournament. Their overall record is pretty bad due to an 8-game losing streak earlier in the year. But all other metrics are solid. A win over Minnesota and then Purdue would put them into the conversation at least.
In their only matchup of the season, Minnesota won a very close one in mid-January with a dominating perfomance by Jordan Murphy. Time to get the win, put all bubble talk to rest and move on to Purdue.