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Finals-bound: Gophers eliminate Wisconsin, on cusp of improbable championship

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A win over Michigan State stands between Minnesota and the NCAA Tournament

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?

Two key three-pointers from Gabe Kalscheur and clutch free throws from Daniel Oturu pushed the Gophers to the brink of an improbable conference championship run as they beat Wisconsin 64-60 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, notching their fourth win in four days and putting them on the brink of the NCAA Tournament.

Trailing 57-54 with just 2:55 remaining in the game Kalscheur hit back-to-back threes and forced a crucial Brad Davison turnover as the Gophers mounted a late second half comeback to seal the victory and take the season series over the Badgers.

Neither team led by more than four points throughout the game until the six-minute mark of the second half when Wisconsin went on a 7-0 run to take a 57-50 lead, which seemed insurmountable. But Kalscheur’s quick strikes erased the deficit and a parade of free throws from Oturu put the nail in the coffin.

Oturu had a quiet 20 and 10, adding in 3 blocks and holding Nate Reuvers to just 4 points, but the story of the night was Kalscheur, who finished with 19 points on 5-9 shooting from deep and systematically stemming the bleeding all night with timely threes to stunt potential Wisconsin runs.

Overall, Minnesota shot 42% from the field but made their living from the free throw line, going 13-14 including four straight from Oturu to end the game.

For the Gophers, the win puts them just one victory away from capping an unheard-of run through the Big Ten Tournament, and makes them the first team to make the finals when starting play on Wednesday. They’ll play an unprecedented fifth game in five days tomorrow against Michigan State, hoping to cut down the Spartans (and the nets) and be guaranteed a spot in the promised land.

Who knows — this might even put them in a deep bubble conversation if they can play Sparty close. They say anything’s possible in a Game 7 scenario.