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March Madness: Gophers get 5-seed, will play Middle Tennessee

The Gophers open the NCAA tourney Thursday against Middle Tennessee.
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The NCAA Selection Committee took notice of Minnesota's big turnaround season by rewarding the Gophers (24-9) with the 5-seed in the South Region. They'll play 12-seed Middle Tennessee (30-4) in Milwaukee on Thursday.

CBS Sports' Seth Davis is picking Middle Tennessee to beat the Gophers. The Blue Raiders were a 15-seed last season and upset 2-seed Michigan State in the first round.

They also have their two leading scorers from last season back in addition to new leading scorer, Arkansas transfer, JaCorey Williams.

If Minnesota wins, they'll play 4-seed Butler or 13-seed Winthrop on Saturday.

The Gophers, finished fourth in the Big Ten and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament before losing to tournament champion Michigan, 84-77 on Saturday.

Head coach Richard Pitino will have to draw up a new game plan for the tournament that doesn't include senior captain Akeem Springs. Springs' season ended when he tore his Achilles in his right heel late in Friday's win over Michigan State. He was a key player off the bench and one of the few 3-point threats on the roster.

These guys are just a little excited #Gophers#NCAATournament@StribSportspic.twitter.com/kT9gJ098VT

— Marcus R. Fuller (@Marcus_R_Fuller) March 12, 2017

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