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Gophers getting top 15 hype in early hoops projections for 2017-18

There's a lot of hype over the Gopher men's basketball team.

The college basketball season just came to an end Monday night when the North Carolina Tar Heels won the national championship, but it's not too early to start getting excited about next season – especially for Gophers basketball fans.

That's because there's already a ton of hype surrounding the Gophers men's basketball team for next season.

Richard Pitino's club finished the season 24-10, good for fourth in the Big Ten and made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013. However, the Gophers season came to an end with a 81-72 loss to Middle Tennessee State in the field of 64.

The main reason for the excitement surrounding next season is that the Gophers only lose one starter from the club – and that was one of the main reasons Sports Illustrated projected Minnesota to be the 10th best team in the country next season.

And it's not just SI. The Gophers are ranked in virtually ever major publication's polls. FOX Sports has Minnesota ranked at No. 14 and had a promising write-up about them.

"The Golden Gophers went from sub .500 a year ago, to 24-10, and return every key player in 2018. That includes leading scorer Nate Mason and leading rebounder Jordan Murphy, as well as sophomore-to-be Amir Coffey. Coffey could be a breakout star next year, after averaging nearly 12 points per game as a freshman."

The Sporting News expects the Gophers to contend for the Big Ten Championship and has them ranked No. 13.

ESPN and USA Today project the Gophers at No. 17 and Yahoo Sports forecasts the Gophers at No. 20 next season.

While the projections and hype are fun, let's not forget that practice doesn't even start for seven months and a lot can change by then.

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