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Gophers pound Michigan State, prepare for critical Big Ten Tournament

Minnesota faces Indiana in the Big Ten tourney Thursday night.

All the Gopher women's basketball team can do now is put forth a good showing in the Big Ten Tournament and hope for the best when the NCAA Tournament brackets are revealed Monday, Mar. 18. 

Minnesota wrapped up the regular season with a blowout win over Michigan State at Williams Arena on Sunday afternoon, giving them a final regular season record of 20-9, including an even 9-9 mark in Big Ten play. 

Despite a really strong finish in Lindsay Whalen's first year as head coach, the Gophers likely need to win a game or two in the Big Ten Tournament to have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament. 

Minnesota is the No. 7 seed and faces 10-seed Indiana at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The winner will advance to the tourney quarterfinals Friday night against No. 2 seed Iowa.

ESPN's bracketology, which was last updated Feb. 25, has six Big Ten teams receiving tourney invitations: Maryland, Iowa, Rutgers, Michigan State, Michigan and Indiana. 

High Post Hoops, which was updated Feb. 28, has the same six Big Ten teams making it. 

Minnesota is an interesting case because they have wins over Rutgers, Michigan State and Indiana, and had Maryland beaten until a late collapse cost them on the road Feb. 21. The Gophers also have a big win over Syracuse, who is projected as a top-five seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

What's killing Minnesota's chances is that they have the 102nd-ranked RPI in the country, which basically means they played a cupcake non-conference schedule en route to starting the season 12-0.  

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