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Gopher baseball earns outright Big Ten regular season championship

They've won 21 of 24 and are ranked 12th in the country.

For the 24th time in program history, the Golden Gophers are the regular season champions of the Big Ten Conference. 

Minnesota (37-13 overall, 18-4 Big Ten) entered Friday's game at Rutgers already in possession of at least a share of the conference title, but they claimed the solo championship with a 5-3 win over the Scarlet Knights. 

More importantly, the conference championship earns the Gophers an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, of which there was little doubt the 12th-ranked Gophers would be invited to anyway. 

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Minnesota will now enter the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 1 seed, where they'll face the 8-seed either Wednesday or Thursday next week. The conference tournament is double elimination. 

The only thing the Gophers will have to sweat out after the conference tournament is over is where they'll land in the NCAA Tournament and if they'll host a regional at Siebert Field. They'll find out during the Selection Show on Monday, May 28. 

The host of each regional is typically favored to advance to Super Regionals, which is equivalent to the Sweet 16 in college basketball.

Regionals are double elimination, Super Regionals are the best-of-three between two teams.

Teams that win Super Regionals advance to the eight-team field for the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Minnesota has not made it to the College World Series since 1977. 

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