Gophers continue NCAA tourney push with 6th straight win

Minnesota smoked Penn State by 30 points.
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At the rate they're going, Lindsay Whalen might coach the Gophers straight into the NCAA Tournament. 

Nobody would've thought the Gophers were tourney bound after losing seven times in eight games midway through the season, but a 97-67 blowout win over Penn State on Sunday was the sixth straight victory for a Minnesota team that once again resembles the squad the began the season with 12 straight wins.  

The six-game conference winning streak is the longest any Gopher team has had since the 2003-04 Gophers won 11 in a row. That was Whalen's junior year as a star point guard who would go on to lead the Gophers to the Final Four. 

The six-game streak includes two wins over Northwestern and victories over Rutgers, Indiana, Purdue and now Penn State. Overall, Minnesota has a lot of positives on its NCAA Tournament resume: 

  • 19-7 record, 8-7 in the Big Ten
  • 19 wins are third-most in Big Ten
  • 6-3 road record
  • Upset #12 Syracuse on Nov. 29
  • Upset #17 Rutgers on Feb. 3
  • Road wins over Xavier, Boston College, Wisconsin, Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue

Minnesota can really boost its tourney hopes with a strong finish in the final three games of the regular season: 

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

Minnesota is back in action next Thursday when it travels to No. 7/8 Maryland (23-3, 12-3 B1G). Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT on BTN Plus.

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