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Gophers earn No. 7 seed in Big Ten tourney, open against Penn State

They meet up at United Center in Chicago on Thursday.

It's a huge week for the Gopher men's basketball (19-12 overall, 9-11 Big Ten) team as they try to nail down a spot in the NCAA Tournament. 

The Pressure will be on when they open as the No. 7 seed against No. 10 seed Penn State at 6 p.m. Thursday. The winner advances to Friday's quarterfinals against No. 2 seed Purdue, whom Minnesota upset at Williams Arena last week. 

The tournament will wrap up on Sunday followed by the highly anticipated NCAA Tournament Selection Show, and the Gophers might be a bit nervous during the show because it's not entirely clear if they've done enough just yet to lock down one of the 68 spots. 

According to bracketologists Joe Lundardi and Jerry Palm, they have done enough. But could that change during this week's conference tournaments?

Lunardi has Minnesota in as a 10-seed in his bracket prediction at ESPN.com

Palm also projects the Gophers as a 10-seed in his CBS Sports bracket

Penn State won't make the NCAA Tournament unless they win the Big Ten tourney, but for a team with just 14 wins, they're no joke. The Nittany Lions lost 65-64 to Minnesota in their only regular season meeting, and they've won six of their last eight including big wins over sixth-ranked Michigan and 17th-ranked Maryland. 

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