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5th straight win should have Gophers back in NCAA tourney conversation

Minnesota should be in the tourney projections over Purdue and Indiana.

Another day and another big win for the Gophers women's basketball team as they continue to put together a convincing case to be invited to the NCAA Tournament. 

Minnesota's 65-45 blowout win at Purdue on Thursday is their fifth straight victory, and even more importantly it's another win over a team considered worthy of the NCAA Tournament. 

In Charlie Creme's most recent bracketology for ESPN, the Gophers are not in the field of 64 but Purdue and Indiana, whom Minnesota beat Feb. 6, are both projected as No. 9 seeds. 

The Gophers also have big wins over Rutgers (projected 6-seed) and Syracuse (projected 4-seed), so an 18-7 overall record with a 7-7 mark in the Big Ten should start to convince the selection committee, at the very least, that the Gophers deserve attention. 

Put it like this: Minnesota is ahead of Purdue and Indiana in the conference standings and has wins over both, so if the Gophers aren't in the projected tourney field next week we're going to have to start placing blame for a pretty severe oversight. 

Purdue and Minnesota have comparable bodies of work this season, but the Gophers have more marquee wins than Indiana, not to mention the head-to-head win in their only matchup during the regular season. 

Minnesota can really boost its tourney hopes by taking care of business at home Sunday against Penn State and then picking up wins against three ranked opponents to finish the regular season: 

  • Feb. 21 at #7 Maryland
  • Feb. 28 at #23 Rutgers
  • Mar. 3 vs. #24 Michigan State

A strong showing in the Big Ten Tournament would also do wonders for the Gophers. 

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