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Cinderella run? Gophers take on Wisconsin in Big Ten semis

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Fourth game in four days has fans wondering “what if?”

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Unless you have been living in a cave you know this is obviously not a serious post....but just roll with it K?

We’re trained as Gopher fans to not buy in, to be supremely skeptical of anything that could be construed as good fortune and to be distrustful of even the slightest bit of anything that is out of the ordinary.

So why is it so hard to shake this idea that Minnesota is destined to win this whole effing conference tournament? No ... no. Too soon. But after an emotional win over Iowa and a total shakedown of a really good Illinois team yesterday it’s starting to get into the realm of “well maybe this could actually happen.”

The Gophers still have no room for error, and despite now being 17-16 on the year they still need to win out to find themselves in the NCAA Tournament. Perhaps they’ve at least played themselves into the NIT? No one cares about that though.

It’s the rubber match today against the hated Badgers. The Gophers demolished Bucky at home in early February and narrowly missed on the road at Kohl Center. The problem for Wisconsin? They don’t have their complement of hometown refs and scorekeepers at this neutral site.

Essentials:

Opponent:

Wisconsin Badgers (15-6, 22-10)

Date and Time:

Saturday, March 14 @ 3 p.m. CT

Location:

Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, IN)

TV:

BTN

Radio:

KTLK 103.5-FM

Tell me more about the opponent.

Wisconsin looked rusty, to say the least, in their 59-56 quarterfinal win over Michigan yesterday, but ugly is their brand and they stick to it. They’ve now won eight games in a row.

The Gophers match up very well against the Skunks, which isn’t surprising, because they’re probably the most overrated team in all of college basketball. Seriously, this is the top team in the Big Ten? Frauds, all of them. Nate Reuvers? Overrated. Brad Davison? Wow. Brevin Pritzl? Sounds like a food. Micah Potter might be the only guy on this team who isn’t overrated.

Daniel Oturu has had his way with Reuvers all year. Davison only plays well against D-3 teams or when he’s trying to trip people. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

In all seriousness, the Badgers hang their hat on being fundamentally sound, and you need to play very efficiently to beat them. Wisconsin leads the Big Ten in 3-pointers made per game (8.7) as well as free throw percentage (76.9), despite ranking second to last in free throw attempts. They are also the Big Ten leader in fewest turnovers per game (10.2), ranking sixth in the nation in that category.

Predictions

I know there can be a dose of optimism in these predictions, but I honestly think the Gophers match up really well with Wisconsin, and their last two games against them have proven that out. Fourth game in four days though? Yikes. These legs have to give out at some point.

Still, Gophers by 3. Let the good times roll.