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Can Minnesota still make the NCAA tournament?

What will it take to make the big dance in March? Some say Tubby Smith's Golden Gophers are within reach -- and it won't even take a winning record in the Big Ten to get there.
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What will it take to make the big dance in March? Some say Tubby Smith's Golden Gophers are within reach -- and it won't even take a winning record in the Big Ten to get there.

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The latest USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine college hockey polls list the Gophers as the No. 3 team in the nation, behind UMD and Boston University. However, the Gophers are No. 13 in the PairWise rankings. If they fall any further they could end up as a bubble team to reach the NCAA Tournament.

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A twisted ankle is still bothering Gophers' center Ralph Sampson III. He missed Monday's win over Mount St. Mary's and did not participate in contact drills Wednesday. Tubby Smith isn't sure if Sampson will play Thursday against DePaul, but he's hoping he will play at some point during the Old Spice Classic.

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The NCAA hockey tournament is right around the corner and making the field will be challenging for most teams, but not the Gophers and UMD Bulldogs. Both look like locks to make the field of 16, even if they don't receive an automatic bid by winning the WCHA Final Five.


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Minnesotans in the NCAA Tournament

The Daily Gopher did a great job of finding Minnesota kids playing in the NCAA Tournament. Royce White at Iowa State, Jordan Taylor at Wisconsin and Nate Wolters at South Dakota State are all part of the 2012 "All-Left Us" team.

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