Gators up next as Gophers go for 2 in NCAA Tournament


Why not?

Why couldn't the Gopher men's basketball team win another game in the NCAA Tournament when it takes on the Florida Gators on Sunday?

Well, OK. There are lots of reasons. For one: The team is streaky to say the least, capable of beating a No. 1 nationally ranked team one day, and falling to lowly Nebraska the next.

The Orlando Sentinel puts it this way: It's "tough to figure" Minnesota. But the newspaper tips its Florida audience to two Gopher strengths: Forward Trevor Mbakwe (6-8, 245) is a "beast on the backboard" and guard Andre Hollins can be an "explosive scorer."

Still, oddsmakers put Florida at about an 8.5-point favorite. Early results in an informal Star Tribune poll suggest readers are split on whether the Gophers can pull it off.

Rant Sports predicts Florida by 15 over Minnesota, noting that the Gators' Erik Murphy, Patric Young, Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario "will be a lot for Minnesota to handle."

Stay tuned. Tip off is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. CT Sunday.

Until then, fans can still revel in Friday night's big win, the Gophers' first official NCAA tournament win since 1990. "We haven't played well in a long time," Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said after the UCLA game. "It was nice to see our guys having fun."

Here are the highlights from Friday night's humiliation of the Bruins:

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