Minnesota Gophers 52
Illinois Fighting Illini 85
The Gophers suffered their largest defeat of the season at the hands of Illinois this afternoon during the first round of the Big Ten basketball tournament.
1) The Gopher's season likely over
While there's a slim chance that Minnesota will receive an invitation to the NIT this year, it's worth noting that they didn't merit an invite last year, when they had a superior record. According to the Pioneer Press, Minnesota has a history of declining invitations to smaller tournaments, such as College Basketball Invitational and the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. If they decline those invitations again this season, tonight's loss likely spells the end of the season.
2) Buggs and Gilbert try to carry the Gophers
Junior forward Charles Buggs put in a strong effort to help out the Gopher's depleted roster – down to eight dressed players because of injuries and suspensions. He scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including two 3-pointers and this big dunk in transition.
Freshman guard Ahmad Gilbert scored 11 points off the bench and added 3 steals and 4 rebounds.
3) Minnesota struggles to defend the 3 point line
The Gophers gave up 13 3-pointers during today's game and allowed Illinois to shoot over 50 percent from beyond the arc. Marcus Fuller of the Pioneer Press noted the shortened bench led to the Gophers looking especially tired down the stretch, allowing 47 points in the second half.
Tweet of the Game
GopherHole pointed out this Gophers run that prompted a timeout from Illinois.
Gophers head coach Richard Pitino gave a press conference after the game to talk about the team's season, which ended with an 8-23 record overall – and 2-16 in the Big Ten.